Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin that is part of the B-complex group. Biotin helps the body convert carbohydrates, fats and proteins into energy. The body does not store biotin – it is made by bacteria in the intestinal tract. Your cat needs sufficient biotin for a healthy coat and claws.
In addition to converting food into energy, biotin also helps the body get rid of by-products from protein. As carnivores, a cat’s diet is high in protein, and they need sufficient biotin to process and excrete it. Also called vitamin H, biotin supports the thyroid and adrenal glands and the reproductive and nervous systems. Biotin also helps the body use other B-complex vitamins and maintains healthy skin, coat and claws.
In cats, the major sign of biotin deficiency is skin problems. The cat will look scruffy, and lesions will start on the legs and face and spread to the rest of the body. Deficiencies are not common but are sometimes seen after a long period of antibody treatment. This is because antibodies can deplete the bacteria in the intestine that produce biotin. Too much consumption of raw eggs can also result in biotin deficiency, as a protein found in egg whites prevents the body’s absorption of biotin.
Biotin is widely available as a pet supplement in various forms, often labelled as a product that improves skin, coat and nails. Biotin is commonly recommended for cats with allergies and itchy skin. Your cat’s skin and coat say a lot about her internal heath and her fashion sense. When your purrfect pussycat sports a not-so-perfect coat, this often points to a nutrient deficiency.
Biotin plays a large role in maintaining healthy skin and hair, as well as playing an important role in growth, digestion, muscle formation and in enabling the body to use glucose as an energy source. D-biotin synthesises fatty acids and is important for maintaining healthy skin, coat and nails.