Vitamin K (Naphtoquinone) is essential for regulating the plasma content of proteins required for blood coagulation. Vitamin K controls the synthesis in the liver of prothrombin and other blood-clooting factors to such an extent that a vitamin K deficiency reduces blood coagulation and leads to heavy haemorrhaging, especially in birds. This is the reason vitamin K is also given the name antihaemorrhagic vitamin or coagulation vitamin. Treatment with antibiotics an sulpha drugs are factors affecting the availability of vitamin K as both prevent the correct synthesis of this vitamin by the intestinal flora. Birds have such a short intestinal tract and so few micro-organisms that they require a dietary source of vitamin K. This supply should be increased when they are receiving medical treatment as above or when breeding, as the vitamin K storage in the liver of newly hatched chicks is very small if not enough has been secreted into the eggs. Vitamin K is found in cabbage, cauliflower, spinach and other green leafy vegetables, cereals, soybeans and other vegetables. Vitamin K is also produced from the bacteria in the healthy gastrointestinal tract.


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