Vitamin E deficiency

Susanh8043

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Oct 5, 2019
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Hi there, my mare has a slight loss of appetite and weight loss. Vet came out last week and took bloods results came back today she is deficient in vitamin e. Vet is yet to come back with advice so I'm just wondering if anyone one has experienced this any input would be appreciated. Thanks
 

Jessey

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Dec 20, 2004
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Vit E is most available in green grass in the horses diet, generally they don't get deficient if they are on good grazing for most of the year, but long term restricted diets/limited turnout can contribute to deficiency, and some horses need higher amounts of it than others (so will use up bodies stores quicker). Preserved forage doesn't keep vit E very well. My mob are kept on next to no grass and adlib hay all summer so I supplement their Vit E year round.

Most complete feeds (mixes) have some vit E added but often not enough if your horse isn't at least on grass part time, for maintenance most adult no specific requirement horses need 1,000-3,000iu a day, those who are convalescing might need 3,000-5,000iu, and some that have specific need for more might need up to 10,000iu a day so you can see how a complete feed that provides 150iu/kg may not provide anywhere near enough in some situations. Vit E is stored but not for massively long periods, they can manage without green grass for 4 months over the winter but then they will have depleted their stores and need it topping up either by fresh spring grass or from provided feed.

Vit E is an antioxidant, it works in hand with selenium, Se and vit E can work in place of one another to some extent but their codependency can mean that a lack of one causes a deficiency in the other so do well to be assessed together. Vit E can pretty much be supplemented with no ill effects (no toxic level ever documented), but Se becomes toxic at relatively low doses so you really need to know Se status of the animal and the land before supplementing it significantly.
 
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Bodshi

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Apr 23, 2009
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Hi @Susanh8043. I have my horse on Vitamin E, although he's never had a blood test to prove he's deficient, I was just desperately searching for something to help his issues last winter when he had a horrible skin infection that wouldn't clear up. One of my Google searches threw up Vitamin E to support the immune system and when I read more about it I realised that my horse had a lot of the classic signs of Vitamin E deficiency. He has always been what even the vet called a 'summer horse', and prone to problems in winter. For instance, he had several episodes of seizing up after exercise. The worst episode he could barely move, the vet was absolutely convinced he was tying up and treated him accordingly (muscle relaxants and pain killers) but the blood results showed that he wasn't tying up at all. I always had to avoid putting cold water on his back after exercise and gave him a Danilon in his feed after any strenuous activity to stop his muscle cramps. He used to sometimes feel like he had the handbrake on when I was riding him and do funny little muscle twitches as though someone had poked him in the bum or he'd gone over a speed bump with one leg. He used to shake whenever I got the lorry out to go somewhere, presumably with excitement but everyone used to remark on it. He didn't lose a massive amount of weight, but he was always hard to keep weight on in winter and completely lost his 'bloom'.

We always knew he did well on grass (Vit E source) and in winter he gets little grazing, last winter barely any because of his skin and the need to keep his legs dry. He also has Cushings and so needs more support anyway.

I decided to give Vitamin E a go and so far (touch wood) the improvement has been remarkable. I started it back end of last winter and his skin infection cleared up, although it's impossible to say whether that was due to the Vit E, a change of topical ointment (I kept trying new ones) or just co-incidence. However all his muscle symptoms are much improved, no more shaking, no cramping, no need for a Danilon when we've been hunting etc. He is feeling fab at the moment and I'm just keeping everything crossed that it is due to the Vitamin E.

I have him on this one https://www.saracenhorsefeeds.com/supplements/kerx-nano-e because it is supposed to be most rapidly available and I can adjust the dose according to workload. At the moment he's on 4,000 iu daily (more before and after a hard day), but I reduce that to 2,000 when he's on grass. I tried a cheaper powdered supplement but he came out in hives, although I tried a new fly spray at the time so not sure which was the culprit!

I've just seen @Jessey's posted while I've been typing this, I was hoping she would reply as she is very knowledgeable about nutritional requirements and has given me lots of advice about Vitamin E.

I'd be very interested to hear what your vet recommends and what outcome it has. I hope your mare improves on the treatment and gets her appetite back. Out of interest, whereabouts in the world are you?
 

domane

Gracie's mum
Jul 31, 2005
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Interesting thread. The only thing I know about vit E and selenium is that you should feed it if you're soaking hay. We went through a phase of soaking Jack's hay when he was first diagnosed with PPID because the vet really emphasised how much higher the risks are for laminitis. So we added a vit E/selenium supplement. But in the end we stopped both and let him take his chances and live happily until the end.
 

Susanh8043

New Member
Oct 5, 2019
8
4
3
57
Vit E is most available in green grass in the horses diet, generally they don't get deficient if they are on good grazing for most of the year, but long term restricted diets/limited turnout can contribute to deficiency, and some horses need higher amounts of it than others (so will use up bodies stores quicker). Preserved forage doesn't keep vit E very well. My mob are kept on next to no grass and adlib hay all summer so I supplement their Vit E year round.

Most complete feeds (mixes) have some vit E added but often not enough if your horse isn't at least on grass part time, for maintenance most adult no specific requirement horses need 1,000-3,000iu a day, those who are convalescing might need 3,000-5,000iu, and some that have specific need for more might need up to 10,000iu a day so you can see how a complete feed that provides 150iu/kg may not provide anywhere near enough in some situations. Vit E is stored but not for massively long periods, they can manage without green grass for 4 months over the winter but then they will have depleted their stores and need it topping up either by fresh spring grass or from provided feed.

Vit E is an antioxidant, it works in hand with selenium, Se and vit E can work in place of one another to some extent but their codependency can mean that a lack of one causes a deficiency in the other so do well to be assessed together. Vit E can pretty much be supplemented with no ill effects (no toxic level ever documented), but Se becomes toxic at relatively low doses so you really need to know Se status of the animal and the land before supplementing it significantly.
Vit E is most available in green grass in the horses diet, generally they don't get deficient if they are on good grazing for most of the year, but long term restricted diets/limited turnout can contribute to deficiency, and some horses need higher amounts of it than others (so will use up bodies stores quicker). Preserved forage doesn't keep vit E very well. My mob are kept on next to no grass and adlib hay all summer so I supplement their Vit E year round.

Most complete feeds (mixes) have some vit E added but often not enough if your horse isn't at least on grass part time, for maintenance most adult no specific requirement horses need 1,000-3,000iu a day, those who are convalescing might need 3,000-5,000iu, and some that have specific need for more might need up to 10,000iu a day so you can see how a complete feed that provides 150iu/kg may not provide anywhere near enough in some situations. Vit E is stored but not for massively long periods, they can manage without green grass for 4 months over the winter but then they will have depleted their stores and need it topping up either by fresh spring grass or from provided feed.

Vit E is an antioxidant, it works in hand with selenium, Se and vit E can work in place of one another to some extent but their codependency can mean that a lack of one causes a deficiency in the other so do well to be assessed together. Vit E can pretty much be supplemented with no ill effects (no toxic level ever documented), but Se becomes toxic at relatively low doses so you really need to know Se status of the animal and the land before supplementing it significantly.
Hi Jessey, thank you for taking time to reply.
My mare was on restricted grazing through the summer just to keep her weight wright she always had haylage at night time and out 24 /7 the only thing is this summer we had a fair amount of rainfall so whether there wasn't enough goodness in the grass, mybe one factor not sure.
The vet came back to me today and suggested changing her balancer to a bit better one with more vitamin E in it, but I'm thinking she might need more but he says try that first i should see an improvement in 7 to 10 days he says. So I'll try that, she's on a basic balancer at the moment dobson and horrell ultimate balancer he said try their performance balancer.
She is stabled at night now winter is here, she's leaving some of her haylage and has dropped a bit of weight. Do you think it best to give her time off until i feel she's back to normal? She carriage drives so it's quite hard work.
 
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Susanh8043

New Member
Oct 5, 2019
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Hi @Susanh8043. I have my horse on Vitamin E, although he's never had a blood test to prove he's deficient, I was just desperately searching for something to help his issues last winter when he had a horrible skin infection that wouldn't clear up. One of my Google searches threw up Vitamin E to support the immune system and when I read more about it I realised that my horse had a lot of the classic signs of Vitamin E deficiency. He has always been what even the vet called a 'summer horse', and prone to problems in winter. For instance, he had several episodes of seizing up after exercise. The worst episode he could barely move, the vet was absolutely convinced he was tying up and treated him accordingly (muscle relaxants and pain killers) but the blood results showed that he wasn't tying up at all. I always had to avoid putting cold water on his back after exercise and gave him a Danilon in his feed after any strenuous activity to stop his muscle cramps. He used to sometimes feel like he had the handbrake on when I was riding him and do funny little muscle twitches as though someone had poked him in the bum or he'd gone over a speed bump with one leg. He used to shake whenever I got the lorry out to go somewhere, presumably with excitement but everyone used to remark on it. He didn't lose a massive amount of weight, but he was always hard to keep weight on in winter and completely lost his 'bloom'.

We always knew he did well on grass (Vit E source) and in winter he gets little grazing, last winter barely any because of his skin and the need to keep his legs dry. He also has Cushings and so needs more support anyway.

I decided to give Vitamin E a go and so far (touch wood) the improvement has been remarkable. I started it back end of last winter and his skin infection cleared up, although it's impossible to say whether that was due to the Vit E, a change of topical ointment (I kept trying new ones) or just co-incidence. However all his muscle symptoms are much improved, no more shaking, no cramping, no need for a Danilon when we've been hunting etc. He is feeling fab at the moment and I'm just keeping everything crossed that it is due to the Vitamin E.

I have him on this one https://www.saracenhorsefeeds.com/supplements/kerx-nano-e because it is supposed to be most rapidly available and I can adjust the dose according to workload. At the moment he's on 4,000 iu daily (more before and after a hard day), but I reduce that to 2,000 when he's on grass. I tried a cheaper powdered supplement but he came out in hives, although I tried a new fly spray at the time so not sure which was the culprit!

I've just seen @Jessey's posted while I've been typing this, I was hoping she would reply as she is very knowledgeable about nutritional requirements and has given me lots of advice about Vitamin E.

I'd be very interested to hear what your vet recommends and what outcome it has. I hope your mare improves on the treatment and gets her appetite back. Out of interest, whereabouts in the world are you?
Hi there, many thanks for your reply.
My vet came back today and suggested giving her a different balancer one with a better vitamin E content, i feel that's not going to be enough but I'll try it first, he say 7 to 10 days and i should see an improvement.
We are up in Scotland Aberdeenshire
Hi @Susanh8043. I have my horse on Vitamin E, although he's never had a blood test to prove he's deficient, I was just desperately searching for something to help his issues last winter when he had a horrible skin infection that wouldn't clear up. One of my Google searches threw up Vitamin E to support the immune system and when I read more about it I realised that my horse had a lot of the classic signs of Vitamin E deficiency. He has always been what even the vet called a 'summer horse', and prone to problems in winter. For instance, he had several episodes of seizing up after exercise. The worst episode he could barely move, the vet was absolutely convinced he was tying up and treated him accordingly (muscle relaxants and pain killers) but the blood results showed that he wasn't tying up at all. I always had to avoid putting cold water on his back after exercise and gave him a Danilon in his feed after any strenuous activity to stop his muscle cramps. He used to sometimes feel like he had the handbrake on when I was riding him and do funny little muscle twitches as though someone had poked him in the bum or he'd gone over a speed bump with one leg. He used to shake whenever I got the lorry out to go somewhere, presumably with excitement but everyone used to remark on it. He didn't lose a massive amount of weight, but he was always hard to keep weight on in winter and completely lost his 'bloom'.

We always knew he did well on grass (Vit E source) and in winter he gets little grazing, last winter barely any because of his skin and the need to keep his legs dry. He also has Cushings and so needs more support anyway.

I decided to give Vitamin E a go and so far (touch wood) the improvement has been remarkable. I started it back end of last winter and his skin infection cleared up, although it's impossible to say whether that was due to the Vit E, a change of topical ointment (I kept trying new ones) or just co-incidence. However all his muscle symptoms are much improved, no more shaking, no cramping, no need for a Danilon when we've been hunting etc. He is feeling fab at the moment and I'm just keeping everything crossed that it is due to the Vitamin E.

I have him on this one https://www.saracenhorsefeeds.com/supplements/kerx-nano-e because it is supposed to be most rapidly available and I can adjust the dose according to workload. At the moment he's on 4,000 iu daily (more before and after a hard day), but I reduce that to 2,000 when he's on grass. I tried a cheaper powdered supplement but he came out in hives, although I tried a new fly spray at the time so not sure which was the culprit!

I've just seen @Jessey's posted while I've been typing this, I was hoping she would reply as she is very knowledgeable about nutritional requirements and has given me lots of advice about Vitamin E.

I'd be very interested to hear what your vet recommends and what outcome it has. I hope your mare improves on the treatment and gets her appetite back. Out of interest, whereabouts in the world are you?
Hi there many thanks for your reply.
My vet came back to me today and said to try a different balancer one with more vitamin E in but i feel she will need more, but I'll go with what the vet says to start with he says i should see an improvement in 7 to 10 days.
We are in Scotland Aberdeenshire.
I'm wondering if i should give her a bit of time off until i feel she's back to normal what's your thoughts
 

Bodshi

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Apr 23, 2009
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Hi there many thanks for your reply.
My vet came back to me today and said to try a different balancer one with more vitamin E in but i feel she will need more, but I'll go with what the vet says to start with he says i should see an improvement in 7 to 10 days.
We are in Scotland Aberdeenshire.
I'm wondering if i should give her a bit of time off until i feel she's back to normal what's your thoughts
Mine was getting a balancer with vitamin E included, but it obviously wasn't enough, assuming it is the vitamin E that's made the difference. I hope it does the trick for your mare though.

I didn't know if you were in the UK (and therefore had the same winter/summer grass cycle as me) but now I know, I'm envious of you being in Aberdeenshire. I'm in boringly flat East Yorkshire. As to giving your mare time off, if it was my horse I'd keep him moving with walking hacks. But I know very little about carriage driving and not sure whether there is an equivalent of a gentle hack! If she's getting turnout, doesn't get bored and you don't need to keep her fit for anything then I would be inclined to give her a break until she's back to herself. Just my opinion though, not necessarily the right one :p
 

Susanh8043

New Member
Oct 5, 2019
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Mine was getting a balancer with vitamin E included, but it obviously wasn't enough, assuming it is the vitamin E that's made the difference. I hope it does the trick for your mare though.

I didn't know if you were in the UK (and therefore had the same winter/summer grass cycle as me) but now I know, I'm envious of you being in Aberdeenshire. I'm in boringly flat East Yorkshire. As to giving your mare time off, if it was my horse I'd keep him moving with walking hacks. But I know very little about carriage driving and not sure whether there is an equivalent of a gentle hack! If she's getting turnout, doesn't get bored and you don't need to keep her fit for anything then I would be inclined to give her a break until she's back to herself. Just my opinion though, not necessarily the right one :p
Do you know if by accident giving to much vitamin E can be harmful? How did you know how much to give yours.
Aberdeenshire is a beautiful part of the country, can be cold it was - 8 last night just a bit chilly
 

Bodshi

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Apr 23, 2009
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Yorkshire
Do you know if by accident giving to much vitamin E can be harmful? How did you know how much to give yours.
Aberdeenshire is a beautiful part of the country, can be cold it was - 8 last night just a bit chilly
I think Vit E is harmless if you give too much, but best check with your vet. I gave mine the recommended dose according to the manufacturer (I went for the middle dose of 8 ml, or 2000 iu) but a few weeks ago, coinciding with the decline of the grass, he seemed to go backwards again so I doubled up his dose and he soon improved.

We had a hard frost and icy cars this morning, but not as low as -8, brrrrrrrr :eek:
 
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Jessey

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Dec 20, 2004
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Do you know if by accident giving to much vitamin E can be harmful? How did you know how much to give yours.
Aberdeenshire is a beautiful part of the country, can be cold it was - 8 last night just a bit chilly
There is no known upper toxic dose of Vit E, so you can safely supplement it. Mine are on hay 24/7 with pickings of grass, I have 1 very grass sensitive QH and 2 mini shetlands that get fat so they're all in weight watchers full time, the QH has been on up to 4000iu of natural vit E. If looking at supplementing double check what you buy as many come with selenium included but your balancer will also likely have selenium in it and that you can overdo very quickly. Ideally you want to select natural vit E not synthetic as the uptake is double so you effectively need to feed less of it to get the same results.
 
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