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How Effective Is Biotin for Horses?

Marlene Garcia
Marlene Garcia

Several research studies on the use of biotin for horses showed B vitamin supplements created stronger hooves as they grew out. Biotin supplements also increased the growth rate of hooves, which take between eight and 15 months to regenerate. Researchers are not certain why biotin for horses addresses hoof problems, but recommend lifelong treatment to prevent the re-occurrence of cracked, dry hooves that might begin crumbling and become tender.

Biotin exists in most cells and converts food to energy. This B vitamin also plays a vital role in metabolizing fats, carbohydrates, and protein. Adrenal and thyroid glands use biotin to stabilize nerves, promote growth, and build a healthy reproductive system.

Biotin might strengthen a horse's hooves.
Biotin might strengthen a horse's hooves.

The vitamin is found naturally in some animal feed, such as alfalfa, oats, soy meal, and molasses, but only small amounts might be absorbed in a horse’s intestinal tract. The large intestine, or hind gut, absorbs biotin and other nutrients via bacteria produced when feed ferments. Some studies show the hind gut only absorbs water, which might lead to a biotin deficiency.

Vitamin B supplements with biotin appear to help horses grow stronger hooves more quickly than without the supplements.
Vitamin B supplements with biotin appear to help horses grow stronger hooves more quickly than without the supplements.

When biotin for horses is given as a supplement, it might allow absorption of the vitamin in the upper digestive tract, where most nutrients are used. Most commercial horse feed contains biotin and other vitamins in small amounts. Supplements of biotin should include at least 15 milligrams per day to address hoof problems, researchers found.

These supplements do not treat old growth, but create stronger hooves as they grow out. The rate of growth varies by breed and environmental factors. Hooves grow slower in cold climates and faster when a horse’s body temperature rises. Hooves of working horses also grow faster.

Most commercial horse feed contains biotin.
Most commercial horse feed contains biotin.

Hoof growth starts at the coronary band, an area on the top of the hoof where hair exists. The condition of the hoof is measured by hardness, form, and strength to withstand the horse’s weight, which is borne by the wall of the hoof. A hoof that spreads out might not be receiving adequate vitamins and minerals from the blood supply, especially biotin, which is a water-soluble vitamin excreted in the urine.

In addition to biotin for horses, most hoof supplements contain iodine, zinc, methionine, and calcium. Horses receiving these supplements showed improvement in hoof health within six months. When biotin levels were decreased or discontinued, hooves began deteriorating in most horses studied. Equine veterinarians advise continued use of biotin for horses to correct hoof problems and prevent relapse to prior conditions.

Frequently Asked Questions

What benefits does biotin provide to horses?

Biotin, a B-vitamin, is known to support healthy hoof growth and improve the quality of horses' hooves. It aids in the metabolism of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates, contributing to overall health. Studies have shown that biotin supplementation can lead to improved hoof hardness and integrity, which is crucial for equine athletes and working horses.

How long does it take to see results from biotin supplements in horses?

Results from biotin supplementation can take several months to become apparent. Hoof growth in horses is slow, and it may take 6 to 12 months of consistent biotin intake before significant improvements are seen. This is because the supplement aids in the growth of new, healthier hoof tissue, which takes time to develop and replace the old.

What is the recommended dosage of biotin for horses?

The recommended dosage of biotin for horses varies, but it generally ranges from 15 to 30 milligrams per day. According to research, a daily dose of 20 milligrams of biotin is often effective for improving hoof quality. However, the specific needs may vary based on the horse's size, diet, and hoof condition, so it's best to consult with a veterinarian.

Can biotin be harmful to horses if over-supplemented?

Biotin is considered safe for horses and has a low risk of toxicity. However, excessive supplementation is not beneficial and can be wasteful. While there are no well-documented cases of biotin overdose in horses, it's always prudent to adhere to recommended dosages and consult with a veterinarian before making significant changes to a horse's dietary regimen.

Are there any side effects associated with biotin supplementation in horses?

Side effects from biotin supplementation in horses are rare, as biotin is a water-soluble vitamin and excess amounts are typically excreted in urine. However, introducing any new supplement should be done gradually to monitor for any adverse reactions, and it's important to ensure that the supplement does not unbalance the overall diet.

Is biotin supplementation necessary for all horses?

Biotin supplementation is not necessary for all horses. Many horses receive adequate biotin through their diet, particularly if they have access to good-quality forage and a balanced feed. Supplementation is generally recommended for horses with poor hoof quality, those recovering from hoof injuries, or those with increased hoof growth demands due to their work or environment.

Discussion Comments


@bear78-- I highly recommend getting bulk biotin powder. Of course, make sure it is made for animals. It costs much less. You can just add it to the horses' feed and a bucket of it lasts a long time too.

My horses had poor hooves before we started adding biotin to their feed. The hooves were crumbly and not thick enough. They're looking great now. They're soft, hard and thick. I do believe that biotin made all the difference. But you can't keep up with the cost of the fancier biotin treats. Use the powder to save money.


@turquoise-- I agree with you. I have a horse who specifically has issues with his hooves and when I give him biotin horse cookies, there is a noticeable difference. I try to get them often for him. It helps him and he loves the flavor too. It's his favorite snack. I just wish they were not so expensive since we run out of them fairly quickly.


It's not surprising that biotin helps horses with their hooves. Biotin supplements are also available for people for better skin, hair and nails. Biotin is naturally found in all of these and lack of the nutrient can cause brittle nails, dry skin and damaged hair. So just as biotin helps us with our nails, it helps horses with their hooves.

I do believe that there are variations in the quality of biotin supplements for horses. But aside from this, it is definitely a supplement that horse owners should invest in.

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    • Biotin might strengthen a horse's hooves.
      By: Eric Isselée
      Biotin might strengthen a horse's hooves.
    • Vitamin B supplements with biotin appear to help horses grow stronger hooves more quickly than without the supplements.
      By: Justin 767
      Vitamin B supplements with biotin appear to help horses grow stronger hooves more quickly than without the supplements.
    • Most commercial horse feed contains biotin.
      By: CofkoCof
      Most commercial horse feed contains biotin.