Sunday, 11 December 2016

Electrolyte Loss & Replacement Strategies

Did you know a horse not in work loses up to 10 litres a day in sweat! That means losses of 10 grams of Sodium, 10 grams of Chloride, 25 grams of Potassium and 10 grams of Magnesium!

A horse in mid range work sweats by comparison 27-43 litres a day.  That means losses of up to 43 grams of Sodium, 71 grams of Chloride, 43 grams of Potassium and 13 grams of Magnesium.

Tying up is a common problems in performance horses. Research in England suggests tying up is related to electrolyte imbalances.

So how do you replace these significant electrolyte losses?  A portion of sodium and chloride can be obtained by providing a salt lick block.  Potassium can be picked up in forage, typically hay provides 10-20 grams per kg.  German research revealed horses fed adequate forage maintained better water and potassium balances during exercise than horses fed a high concentrate diet (Grain).

Magnesium however is not readily available in sufficient quantities to replenish a horses needs.  Magnesium must be fed in conjunction with Calcium (close to 3:1 Calcium: Magnesium) in conjunction with Boron to be adequately supplied to and utilised by the small intestine.

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