Vitamin E for Horse Health

Vitamin E is an essential vitamin in equine nutrition.

Grazing on green grass for several hours or more every day will assure that most horses receive adequate amounts of vitamin E.
Kristen Warning

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

H&R Photo Files

no grass
Horses lacking access to plenty of fresh pasture forage may be vitamin E-deficient.

hard work
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.

Courtesy of Horsetech

‘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. 

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