Cobalt is a micromineral that is required within the horse’s hindgut to synthesize the vitamin cobalamin, known as Vitamin B12. Microbes present in the hindgut convert cobalt into its active form cyanocobalamin during hindgut fermentation.
Cyanocobalamin is required for making red blood cells, protein synthesis, as well as sugar and fat metabolism. It also supports reproductive function and cardiovascular health.
Racehorses will sometimes be supplemented with additional sources of Cobalamin for a purported boost in athletic performance.
The essential trace mineral Cobalt is found naturally in horse feeds and there have not been any reported cases of deficiency. Signs of suboptimal intake can include:
– loss of appetite
– poor growth
– other symptoms associated with low vitamin B12 consumption
Some sources report that supplementation is necessary in regions where the soil does not naturally contain adequate amounts. This includes Florida, New England, Australia, New Zealand, and Norway.
As a supplement, it is commonly provided in the form of Vitamin B12 or cobalt carbonate and it has a Maximum Tolerable Level of 25 mg per kg of feed or about 250 mg per day.
Wondering if your horse is getting enough cobalt in their diet? Contact Mad Barn for a complimentary diet evaluation by our equine nutritionists!