Sunday, September 18, 2016

Electrolyte Oversupplementation: A Real Risk for Horses? - Full Article

By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · August 30, 2016

Routine electrolyte supplementation is part and parcel in the diets of performance horses. Intricacies of electrolyte nutrition are sometimes not well understood, especially the implications of oversupplementation.

Wait, is it possible to oversupplement electrolytes?

“Oversupplementing electrolytes on a daily basis would be difficult to do, particularly if products are given according to the manufacturer’s recommendations and only fed when the horse has access to water,” explained Kathleen Crandell, Ph.D., a longtime nutritionist for Kentucky Equine Research (KER).

If more electrolytes are given than the horse requires, healthy kidneys will filter the excess sodium and other electrolytes, and excrete them in the urine.

“As you can imagine, in order to flush large amounts of sodium, the body would need a lot of water. If too much salt or electrolyte is fed, a horse will drink more water because its body will attempt to dilute higher concentration of sodium in body cells,” expounded Crandell. “If there is not enough water in the body, it could present a problem, especially if a horse is dehydrated. If electrolytes are given without water to a dehydrated horse, further dehydration will occur, causing significant fluid-balance problems, including the possibility of salt toxicity...”

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