Vitamin K in Horse Diets

Vitamin K is one of the fat-soluble vitamins, meaning it can be stored up in the body.

The main function of this vitamin is for blood clotting to occur, which we all know is critical to our accident-prone horses!

The one use that most people will ever personally see Vitamin K administered for, is if the family dog happens to ingest rat poison, at which point the dog will receive an injection of Vitamin K from the vet. Rat poison functions by limiting the clotting ability of the blood, thus basically causing internal bleeding and eventual death of the animal. Vitamin K injections help restore the clotting ability, hopefully in time to reverse any damage.

In horses, forage sources and the bacterial activity in the gut upon ingestion of adequate forage produces enough Vitamin K, and thus it is not generally supplemented in the diet. Toxicities and deficiencies can occur, but are very rare.

6 Replies to “Vitamin K in Horse Diets”

  1. Hi! What is the ideal daily amount a horse should have? Say a 1,ooo pound horse should get how much vitamin K?

    1. Hi Melody, Great question, and thanks for reading our blog! According to the 2007 edition of the NRC Nutrient Requirements for Horses, there actually is no level that has been determined for horses. They produce enough on their own through microbial activity in the gut, without any additional supplementation. Sorry it’s not a specific number for you!
      Thank you ~ Gina T.

    1. Hello LeAnn, The only symptom a horse owner might ever see, would be trouble with blood clotting. This is more likely to result from something being ingested that would block vitamin K activity, rather than from an actual deficiency.
      Thank you ~ Gina T.

  2. My horse got into squirrel poison and we are keeping an eye on him after taking him to vet. Will it hurt him if we give him vitamin K as a preventative to anything happening?

    1. Hi Paige,
      So sorry to hear this! It would be best to confirm with your veterinarian if that would be the proper course of action.

      Best of luck!

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