Vitamin B12 in horses Optim Equine

Vitamin B12 for Horses

Injectable vitamin B12 is a common treatment given to horses. One of the primary functions of vitamin B12 is to help make red blood cells, which are important to carry oxygen throughout the body. Improving the oxygen carrying capacity of red blood cells in turn can aid endurance and athletic performance in our equines.

Horses and ponies are able to synthesise (make) their own vitamin B12 when they have a healthy balance of hindgut microflora, sufficient fibre in their diet and a suitable mineral intake- particularly adequate dietary cobalt.

What is commonly overlooked is the fact that injectable vitamin B12 is rapidly and nearly completely excreted via bile into a horse’s manure. In essence- they can’t use or absorb this form of B12…it just makes for expensive poo!

Having a healthy digestive system is incredibly important in our horses and ponies to promote many facets of their health: good hoof quality and growth, optimal metabolic and immune function, the production of neurotransmitters (natural chemicals) which help to promote calm behaviour and reducing inflammation.

The production of optimal levels of vitamin B12 to aid in athletic performance are just another reason why we need to focus on sound feeding and management practices and the judicious use of medications in order to promote good gastrointestinal and overall health. It is also an important reminder that we often just can’t out supplement poor dietary practices.

Share this article to your socials