Understanding what functions vitamins have on your horses body can help identify whether your horse has either a deficiency, or is possibly overdosing.
Functions and deficiency signs of vitamins (BASF 2000):
Signs of Major Deficiency
|Vitamin A||Vision, mucous tissue integrity, immunity||Xerophthalmia, tissue keratinization, polyneuritis, hind leg paralysis, elevated cerebrospinal fluid pressure, ataxia, depressed immune system, reduced fertility|
|Vitamin D||Calcium and phosphorus balance||Rickets, osteomalacia, metabolism, bone calcification, immunity|
|Vitamin E||Intracellular respiration, antioxidant, membrane integrity||Encephalomalacia, depressed immune status, skin edema, steatitis, jaundice, liver necrosis, anemia, erythrocyte hemolysis, muscular dystrophy, fetal death, reduced fertility|
|Vitamin K||Blood coagulation||Prolonged blood clotting, low prothrombin, intramuscular bleeding, anemia, hemorrhage|
|Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)||Metabolism of carbohydrates and proteins, nervous system||Loss of appetite, polyneuritis, skin edema, fatty liver, fatty heart, convulsions, cyanosis, gastrointestinal hemorrhage, diarrhea|
|Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)||Antioxidant, H-transfer, ligament integrity||Poor growth, shortened bones, curled toe paralysis, fused ribs, dermatitis, poor hair coat, seborrhea, photophobia, cataracts, anemia, stiff crooked legs, fetal death, reduced fertility, collapsed ovarian follicles, diarrhea, anal mucosa inflammation, ulcerative colitis|
|Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)||Conversion of amino acid groups as coenzyme A, skin integrity||Dermatitis in feet and mouth, blindness, goose stepping, demyelinization of spinal cord, depressed immune system, decreased milk production, embryo detachment, diarrhea, GI ulceration, fatty liver|
|Vitamin B3 (Niacin)||Metabolism of carbohydrates, protein and fats, H carrying enzymes NAD and NADP, skin integrity||Bowed legs, diarrhea, general dermatitis of feet and mouth, anorexia, hind leg paralysis, GI ulceration|
|Vitamin B6 (Pryidoxine)||Metabolism of proteins||Dermatitis around the eyes, fatty liver, ataxia, convulsions, diarrhea|
|B Complex (Choline)||Methyl donor group, phospholipids||Poor growth, fatty liver, enlarged spleen, abnormal gait, demyelinization of peripheral nerves, depressed immune system, reduced fertility, kidney damage|
|Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin)||Protein metabolism, transport of methyl groups||Anemia, poor growth, poor hair coat, fatty kidney, kidney damage, ataxia, uncoordinated hind legs, impaired thyroid, diarrhea|
|Transfer of single carbon units in activated form for methylation reactions involving methyl donors such as methionine and choline, immunity||Poor growth, anemia, poor skin condition, reduced fertility|
|Vitamin B7 (Biotin)||Metabolism of fats, carbohydrates and proteins as coenzyme for CO2 fixation and transcarboxylation||General dermatitis, dermatitis on feet, mouth and eyes, poor hair coat, weak- walled brittle hooves, spasms in hind legs, stiff gait, reduced fertility|
|Vitamin C||Antioxidant, hormone synthesis, conversion of vitamin D3 to calcitriol, essential for bone calcification||Poor hair coat, depressed immune system, hemorrhage, delayed wound healing, degenerated enlarged adrenal, scoliosis,|
Note: Only add vitamin supplements to your horses feed if need be as there are a number of issues with overdosing.
Common Vitamin Overdoses/Toxicity:
- Vitamin A toxicity is most common with symptoms that include slowed growth, dull coat, depression, alopecia sever bone deformation and eventually death.
- Symptoms for Vitamin D toxicosis are depression, low appetite, weight loss, stiff limbs. Chronic toxicity symptoms include calcification of kidneys, rarefaction of bone, sever weight loss and death.
- A Vitamin C overdose can result in diarrhea, iron toxicity, anemia, and liver problems.
Here is a table of the recommended vitamin value per day:
I hope this helps 🙂