Biotin and its role in improving hoof health.

July 5, 2021

Biotin and its role in improving hoof health.

Biotin (Vitamin H or B7) is an essential water-soluble vitamin. It is naturally present in some feeds and can be synthesised by rumen microbes.  Usually, ruminal biotin synthesis supplies sufficient biotin for biological functions, however, diets containing high quantities of grain may reduce the natural synthesis of Biotin by the rumen.

Biotin for hoof hardness.

Biotin is essential for the production and integrity of keratinised tissues.  Biotin-dependent enzymes are directly involved in making the glue ‘intercellular cementing substance’ that ‘holds the brick wall together’.  Hoof hardness is improved when biotin is supplemented at 20mg/day.  This is mainly due to the reduced risk of lameness due to stone bruising, sole ulcers, white line disease.  However, it is important to understand that Biotin must be fed for a number of months before benefits of hardened hoof tissue are seen.

Biotin for Milk Production. 

In addition to its role in hoof health Biotin is an essential coenzyme in carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism. In addition, the three primary rumen cellulolytic bacteria (fibre digesters) have a requirement for biotin, which is important in the synthesis of propionic acid – the key driver of milk production.

Biotin has a proven 9:1 Return on Investment on milk production alone*. Based on an average milk response of 1litre per 20gram dose.

A sub-clinical deficiency in Biotin can result in loss of production, fertility, and lameness due to soft hooves, and higher somatic cell counts.

*Chen B, Wang C, Wang YM and Liu JX (2011) Effect of biotin on milk performance of dairy cattle: A meta-analysis. J D Sci 94:3537-3546.
Beef, Calf, Dairy