Can Vitamin B-12 Improve a Horse’s Appetite?

Learn about vitamin B-12’s role in the horse’s body and when supplementation might prove beneficial.
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vitamin b-12 in horses
Feeding a B vitamin supplement containing vitamin B-12 could help horses with hindgut bacteria disruptions, young horses with incomplete hindgut microbial populations, andold horses who appear to have reduced digestive capacity. | Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt/The Horse

Q.My horse is a picky eater and not the thriftiest sort. Someone suggested that he might be deficient in vitamin B-12 and that I should supplement him to help stimulate his appetite. Would it work?

 

A.Vitamin B-12, or cobalamin, plays several vital roles, including the central nervous system as it aids in the synthesis of myelin the material that coats nerve fibers, fatty acid, and amino acid metabolism and red blood cell maturation in bone marrow

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Clair Thunes, PhD, is an equine nutritionist who owns Clarity Equine Nutrition, based in Gilbert, Arizona. She works as a consultant with owners/trainers and veterinarians across the United States and globally to take the guesswork out of feeding horses and provides services to select companies. As a nutritionist she works with all equids, from WEG competitors to Miniature donkeys and everything in between. Born in England, she earned her undergraduate degree at Edinburgh University, in Scotland, and her master’s and doctorate in nutrition at the University of California, Davis. Growing up, she competed in a wide array of disciplines and was an active member of the U.K. Pony Club. Today, she serves as the district commissioner for the Salt River Pony Club.

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