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Why Your Horse May Need Vitamin B12 Supplements When Taking Omeprazole

Updated: Aug 25, 2023

If your vet has prescribed omeprazole for your horse's stomach ulcers, you’ll want to pay close attention to their vitamin B12 levels. Omeprazole, while effective at reducing stomach acid, can also lower the absorption of this essential vitamin over time.

How Omeprazole Affects B12 Levels in Horses Omeprazole works by inhibiting stomach acid pumps. This reduces painful ulcers but also impairs the separation of vitamin B12 from feed proteins—a necessary step for B12 uptake.

Research shows prolonged omeprazole use correlates with decreased blood B12 levels in horses. Older horses are at particular risk, as acid production naturally wanes with age. Any condition that affects B12 absorption, like intestinal disease, puts horses at higher risk of deficiency.

Signs of B12 Deficiency in Horses B12 deficiency can develop slowly in horses. Look for these possible symptoms:

  • Loss of appetite

  • Weight loss

  • Reduced stamina

  • Personality changes

  • Neurological issues like incoordination or head tremors

Catching B12 deficiency early allows for prompt treatment. Left unaddressed, it can lead to long-term problems like infertility or permanent neurological damage.

Preventing B12 Deficiency in Horses on Omeprazole If your horse has taken omeprazole for over a year, ask your vet to run a blood test to check the B12 status. Make this a regular monitoring routine.

To maintain B12, look into oral supplements or monthly B12 injections. Ensure your horse's diet includes ample B12-fortified feeds like alfalfa, beet pulp, or yeast-topped supplements. If you notice any deficiency symptoms or blood levels remain low, urgently contact your vet. Your horse may need a higher supplement dose or more frequent B12 injections to restore adequate levels.

Don’t Let Omeprazole Lead to B12 Deficiency

While omeprazole brings great relief for equine ulcers, vitamin B12 monitoring, and supplementation is key. Work with your vet to regularly check levels. With vigilance, your horse can benefit from omeprazole without suffering from the side effects of B12 deficiency.

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