A group of water soluble vitamins which are necessary for the metabolism of nutrients (fats, carbohydrates and proteins). Excess levels of water soluble vitamins are usually excreted in urine.
Thiamin is required for the metabolism of carbohydrates and helps with the proper function of the nervous system.
DEFICIENCY: Thiamin deficiency in horses can cause abnormal slowing of the heart rate (bradycardia), muscular incoordination (ataxia), localized muscular contractions which are visible under the skin, periodic hypothermia of the extremities, skipped heartbeats and loss of appetite and weight.
Riboflavin is essential for energy metabolism and nervous system function. Contained in leafy, green hay and good pasture forage.
DEFICIENCY: Deficiency has not been found in horses. Symptoms of deficiency in other species include rough hair coat, atrophy (wasting away) of the outer skin and hair follicles, dermatitis (skin inflammation), conjunctivitis (inflammation of the tissue covering the eyeball) with discharge, abnormal light sensitivity and excessive tearing.
Vitamin B-12's most important functions are to assist in the production of red blood cells and in the utilization of proteins, fats and carbohydrates in feed. B-12 helps convert prop ionic acid, a primary volatile fatty acid produced via synthesis in the gut. Some research suggests that B-12 builds hemoglobin in red blood cells, which increases the oxygen transport capacity of the blood, thus making supplementation useful for racehorses.
DEFICIENCY: Vitamin B-12 is the only B vitamin which is not produced by plants. B-12 deficiencies have not been reported in horses, however, it is generally accepted that horses that are stressed, anaemic, have severe parasitic conditions or are in generally poor health may benefit from supplementation. Horses who ingest poor quality forages may also benefit. Symptoms of deficiency in other species include anaemia, poor appetite, weight loss, irritability, poor growth, impaired reproductive performance, rough hair coat, hindquarter incoordination and unsteady gait. Neurological problems have also been associated with B-12 deficiency.