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Vitamin K For Horses: Quick Facts - Horse Curator Skip to content
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Vitamin K For Horses: Quick Facts

Vitamin K is fat soluble.  Fat soluble vitamins are stored within the body’s fat and liver and may become toxic if certain levels are reached.

Why Vitamin K Is Important For Horses :

  • It is required for blood clotting.
  • It is important for blood and circulatory system health.
  • Research has suggested that it may have a role in bone mineralization, which may increase bone density resulting in stronger bones.
  • Research suggests it may have a role in heart health.

Vitamin K is required for blood clotting.

Signs Of Vitamin K Deficiency In The Horse:

  • Delayed or inability for blood to clot.

Signs Of Vitamin K Toxicity In Horses:

Actual toxic levels are not known at this time. However, toxicity which caused acute renal (kidney) failure in study horses has been documented by a researcher. All the horses suffered kidney failure when single dose injections of menadione (a synthetic form of vitamin K) were administered according to manufacturer’s recommendations. It has been suggested that phylloquinone be used if a horse needs to have vitamin K administered by injection. Phylloquinone is a naturally occurring form of vitamin K.

Vitamin K Sources For Horses:

Vitamin K is found in fresh green grass, alfalfa and grass hay. Unlike other vitamins, vitamin K does not seem to deplete in hay during storage.

Vitamin K Supplements For Horses:

It is believed that most horses meet daily vitamin K requirements though grazing and/or consumption of hay. Current ongoing research suggests that supplementation of vitamin K may increase bone density and health, however, safe levels have not yet been determined. Carey Williams, PhD, assistant director of extension at the Equine Science Center at Rutgers University, stated, “I don’t really recommend adding any extra to the diet because it can become toxic if not careful. Most diets–if they are balanced for the major nutrients–will have plenty of vitamin K and I don’t see it necessary for extra supplementation.”

Recommended NCR Daily Requirements of Vitamin K For Horses (2007):

The National Research Council, states that the dietary vitamin K requirements have not been determined for the horse.

It is important to remember when considering additional supplementation of vitamins, minerals, electrolytes or amino acids to consider all sources of hay, grain (nearly all grain is fortified) , grazing, and other supplements to ensure proper levels and avoid toxicity.