Mind His E for Best Health
Vitamin E is essential for your horse. It helps eliminate damaging free radicals in his body, protects cells, supports his immune system, and assists with nerve and muscle function. A deficiency can cause muscle loss, toe dragging, and overall weakness. Fresh pasture is the best source of E; if your horse gets plenty of green grass, he’s probably getting enough of the vitamin. Consider a supplement if your horse has little or no pasture turnout, is a hard-working athlete or pregnant mare, or has certain neurological or muscular diseases (check with your vet; a blood test is the best way to assess levels).
Reasons to Supplement
Horses lacking access to plenty of fresh pasture forage may be vitamin E-deficient.
Exertion increases the need for E, an antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage.
tends to tie up
Vitamin E works with selenium to help ward off tying up and other muscle issues.
‘d’ or ‘dl’?
If you think your horse might need a vitamin E supplement, check with your veterinarian regarding dosage and the relative merits of natural versus synthetic forms of E.
- The natural form is d-alpha-tocopherol.
- The synthetic version includes an “l” in the name: dl-alpha-tocopherol.
- With either form, you can improve absorption by adding fat (e.g., rice bran) to your horse’s ration.