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Electrolytes play an important role in hydration and cellular function in horses. Learn more about electrolytes, when you might need to supplement them, and what research has shown about how they affect performance horses in an excerpt of this article from our July 2019 issue of The Horse now.
Posted by Natalie DeFee Mendik, MA | Jul 22, 201
These minerals are key to hydration and cellular function
With the variety of human sports drinks on the market, almost everyone these days is familiar with electrolytes. But what are they, and what role do they play in equine health?
Electrolytes are components of salts (or mineral salts) that carry an electric charge (as ions) when dissolved in fluids. “About 2⁄3 of the horse’s body weight is fluid,” says Harold Schott, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVIM, professor at Michigan State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, in East Lansing. “Water is the most abundant molecule in the body, whether horse or human; however, it’s not plain water—it’s a solution of water and electrolytes. Electrolytes make up a critical component of the horse’s total body fluid.”
These minerals include sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium, magnesium, and bicarbonate, says Michael Peralez, DVM, Tevis Cup head veterinarian and four-time finisher who runs a private practice in Arcadia, California. “They are involved in fluid balance, hydration, and nerve conduction,” he adds...
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