Cobalt requirements of horses.
Even though we are describing the actions of individual minerals they never act in isolation and are interconnected with the supply and actions of other minerals and vitamins. This is why we produce Equilibrium and LexveT supplements which contain all the minerals, vitamins and electrolytes that are most often deficient in the diet. Nutritional deficiencies or imbalances are rarely the action of one mineral alone. To supplement with only one or two minerals is usually inadequate to correct all the underlying mineral and vitamin issues.
What is cobalt needed for?
Cobalt is required by the bacterial flora of the hindgut of the horse to manufacture Vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is then absorbed by the body and combines with iron and copper for the production of red blood cells. It is also needed in energy and nitrogen metabolism.
What are the sources of cobalt?
Most common horse feeds contain from 0.05 to 0.6mg cobalt per kilo of dry matter. It is usually the legumes that have the higher levels.
How much cobalt does my horse require?
The minimum amount required is from 0.05 to 0.1mg per kilo of dry matter. Brood mares and horses in work would require more.
What are the signs of cobalt deficiency?
Horses are far more resilient on cobalt deficient soils than cattle and sheep – deficiency signs of emaciation and anaemia seen in cattle and sheep are rarely if ever seen in horses.
What are the signs of cobalt excess?
Clinical signs of excess are not seen due to the extremely low absorption rate of cobalt by the body.
What is cobalt chloride?
It is a cobalt compound that when fed or injected in sufficient amounts tricks the horse’s body into thinking it does not have sufficient oxygen in its red blood cells. This then stimulates the body to produce erythropoietin (EPO) – a hormone needed to increase red cell production.
This would appear to give gallopers and pacers an advantage over those horses not receiving the chemical. For this reason, racing authorities are now more vigilant for the amount of cobalt passed in horses urine post racing.
Equilibrium and LexveT products have never used this form of cobalt in our products. We supply cobalt in a different form and only purely in trace amounts to supplement Vitamin B12 synthesis in the gut. This is a different function to the purpose of using cobalt chloride. Cobalt chloride would normally need to be injected to provide the amounts required for EPO release as cobalt has very poor gut absorption