Vitamin E is an essential part of your horse’s diet in order to ensure overall health. Horses receive vitamin E sources naturally through their diet of either pasture grazing or hay. However, these natural sources may not be delivering enough vitamin E to support your horse. Though vitamin E is commonly found in fresh pasture and hay, the vitamin sources break down if grass and legumes are harvested from the pasture; and if hay is stored for long periods of time. Vitamin E is particularly essential for aging and ill horses, as well as horses in training. The best way to ensure that your horse is getting enough vitamin E is through supplementation into their everyday diet.
Vitamin E acts as a powerful antioxidant for horses. This supplement supports the overall immune system as well as nerve and muscle function. Vitamin E supports your horse’s immune system by eliminating free radicals throughout the body, which are linked to diseases and aging. Oxidative stress occurs when there is an imbalance of antioxidants and free radicals in the body. Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant in protecting cells from oxidative damage. Vitamin E deficiency may lead to damage of your horse’s cells throughout the entire body. This includes the horse’s muscles, nerves, and immune system. For active horses, this could lead to muscle soreness and prolonged recovery times. The more active your horse is, the need for vitamin E increases. Similarly, aging or ill horses require vitamin E to boost their immune system.
Routine - How Much Vitamin E?
Horses need a source of vitamin E in their diet because it is an essential supplement that cannot be produced automatically. The amount of vitamin E required is dependent on your horse’s individual needs. The amount is dependent on activity level, overall health status, as well as size and weight of the horse. Guidelines from the Nutrient Requirements for Horses from the National Research Council (NRC), recommend that a mature horse under light activity (1,100lbs) have 500 units of vitamin E to meet daily requirements. In comparison, the recommended intake for an active horse of the same size is about 1,000 units of vitamin E. Dr. Reilly recommends 1 scoop a day of Health-E. This equals 5754 IU per day for maximum health due to the NRC requirements being too low for most horses.Grazing horses can easily use and store enough vitamin E through their natural diet if they are grazing on fresh grass at least 8 hours a day, every day. Vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin. This means that excess vitamins are stored in the liver and fatty tissues, for use at a later time. If your horse is spending most of their time in a stall, with mainly hay and no grazing, it is up to the caregiver to provide the essential vitamin E supplements.
Vitamin E Status
To discover if your horse is deficient in vitamin E due to diet or disease it is best to perform a blood test with your veterinarian. Vitamin E consists of alpha- tocopherol which can be measured in the blood. Your veterinarian will test your horse’s plasma to see if their alpha- tocopherol levels are greater than 2 micrograms per milliliter which is normal or less than 1.5 which is deficient. Any level between 1.5 and 2 micrograms per milliliter or less than 1.5 will be recommended to increase vitamin E levels. Options to increase the amount of vitamin E in your horse’s diet include increased grazing (grass contains high levels of vitamin E) or to purchase diet supplements for vitamin E.
At Equine we provide multiple vitamin E supplement options including Health-E, Happ-E-Mare, and Heave Ho. Health-E is our main maximum strength supplement for illness or muscle soreness in your horse. At our facility, Doctor Frank Reilly inspects each bottle during the bottling process to ensure top-quality product. We test our products to be the best, Health-E shows all 8 forms of alpha-tocopherol in lab results and is proven to raise vitamin E levels in horse’s blood. Our Happ-E-Mare supplement mix is tailored toward the anxious and stressed horse with muscle soreness. Our Heave-Ho supplement mix focuses on strengthening your horse’s immune system as well as breathing and anti-inflammatories. Overall, vitamin E is an essential supplement to your horse’s diet, supporting the immune system, muscles, and nervous system.