Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) is critical for animal health because it is involved in a vast number of chemical reactions within the body. Besides turning fats, proteins, and carbohydrates into energy, vitamin B5 interacts with other vitamins to perform necessary functions. For example, it works with vitamin C to maintain the health of the adrenal glands.
Pantothenic acid plays in important role in the immune system, helping it to remove toxic substances from the body. This vitamin also assists in the production of hormones, the transmission of signals along the nerves, and the creation of blood cells. Not surprisingly, vitamin B5 is important for proper reproduction and growth.
Grazing animals can manufacture their own vitamin B5 when provided with well-grown green forages, especially alfalfa.
Swine and poultry must receive vitamin B5 in their diet. Good sources include whole barley, wheat bran, peanut meal, condensed fish solutions, molasses, and yeast.
Pets can obtain vitamin B5 from almost any source, including vegetables, brewer’s yeast, peanut meal, whole wheat, wheat bran, and rice bran. The best sources, however, are eggs, beef, organ meats, saltwater fish, and dairy products.
Causes of Deficiency
Pantothenic acid deficiency is relatively uncommon in pets and livestock. It is most likely in swine and poultry and almost always signals an unbalanced diet. Vitamin B5 deficiency appears to be more prevalent in swine fed swill that consists largely of bakery waste.
Symptoms of Deficiency
- Overall poor health.
- Inability to fight infection.
- Stress intolerance.
- Lack of energy.
- Lack of appetite.
- Hair loss.
- Premature graying.
- Dermatitis, especially at the corners of the mouth.
- Ruffled, brittle feathers.
- Goose-stepping gait in swine.
- Posterior paralysis in swine.
- Marked drop in hatchability with mortality peaking in late incubation.
- Reduced growth (may be the only symptom noticed in ducks).
- Sudden death.
Symptoms of Toxicity
Because vitamin B5 is water-soluble, it is considered safe for most pets and farm animals.
Research on the benefits of pantothenic acid is still in the early stages. Because of the role this vitamin plays in aiding the immune system, it may be helpful in treating infection and for combating the effects of stress. It may have a positive effect on the nervous system and on reproduction, as well.
Studies have suggested another interesting use for vitamin B5. It appears that when swine are supplemented with pantothenic acid, they put on a higher proportion of lean meat than they would otherwise.
Content regarding medical conditions and treatment is provided for general information purposes only, and is not to be construed as legal, medical, or professional advice. Please consult your veterinarian for advice regarding your specific animal’s needs.