Vitamin K deficiency occurred in two to 4 weeks in chickens on a simplified corn-soy ration, or on the modified vitamin K-low Animal Nutrition Research Council reference broiler ration. A water-soluble menadione sodium bisulfite complex containing 63% of menadione sodium bisulfite, U.S.P., proved three times as effective as menadione as a sole source of vitamin K in the modified A.N.R.C. reference ration. Menadione at 0.18 mg per pound of feed, the National Research Council recommended level for vitamin K1, failed to give normal prothrombin levels in chicks up to 4 weeks of age on this ration. Sulfaquinoxaline at the unusually high level of 0.1% increased the requirement for vitamin K markedly on these rations. This increase was disproportionately greater for menadione than for menadione sodium bisulfite, U.S.P. Menadione sodium bisulfite, U.S.P. proved 6 to 10 times as effective as menadione in the simplified ration with 0.1% of sulfaquinoxaline. These differences are thought to be due to the better absorption of the water-soluble form.
The addition of 2 to 4% of animal fat to these fat-low rations did not consistently improve utilization of either form of the vitamin. Incidence of gizzard lesions appeared to be related to the severity of vitamin K deficiency. Growth was inhibited only when vitamin K deficiency was profound.
The incidence of the field hemorrhagic syndrome in various areas of the world since 1951–52 is thought to be related to a decreased content of vitamin K in feeds, coupled in part with overmedication with drugs which markedly increase the need for vitamin K. Hypoprothrombinemia caused by intensive sulfa medication was shown in these studies to create unusual requirements for vitamin K. High intake of a readily available source of vitamin K was found to greatly minimize the over-all injury resulting from excessive sulfa drug.