Feed Supplements for Feet

Thin soles, brittle walls, feet won't grow? If your horse has hoof problems, your veterinarian or farrier may suggest a supplement that specifically targets foot health. But with so many different products on the feed store shelves, which one should you choose? Here's what we know about hoof health. By Dr. Barb Crabbe for Horse & Rider magazine.
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Thin soles, brittle walls, feet won't grow? If your horse has hoof problems, your veterinarian or farrier may suggest a supplement that specifically targets foot health. But with so many different products on the feed store shelves, which one should you choose? Here's what we know about hoof health. By Dr. Barb Crabbe for Horse & Rider magazine.

Thin soles, brittle walls, feet won't grow? If your horse has hoof problems, your veterinarian or farrier may suggest a supplement that specifically targets foot health. But with so many different products on the feed store shelves, which one should you choose? Here's what we know about hoof health. (For top farriers' solutions to five common hoof problems, see "Foot Faults," Horse & Rider, February 2003.)

  • Vitamins. The B-vitamin biotin has been scientifically shown to help promote fast, strong hoof growth. Recommended is a daily dose of 15 milligrams for an average 1,000-pound horse, but smaller doses can also be effective. Some supplements contain other vitamins as well, including vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) and vitamin C (ascorbic acid).
  • Protein. The amino acids (building blocks of proteins) methionine and lysine are both believed to increase biotin's effectiveness. (You'll also see these listed as dl-Methionine and l-Lysine.) You may also find other amino acids in hoof supplements.
  • Minerals. A variety of trace minerals may promote hoof health, including zinc/zinc sulfate, copper, and manganese.Hoof Supplement ComparisonHere's a comparison of some of the most popular hoof supplements on the market.