Using Electrolytes to Avoid Horse Dehydration
Using Electrolytes to Avoid Horse Dehydration .When temperatures are reasonable, a horse trotting at 11.2 miles per hour will shed around 3.3 gallons of perspiration each hour. This helps the horse cool its body and dissipate heat. Along with the loss of fluid, you will also experience a loss of the salts and electrolytes sodium, potassium, chloride, magnesium, and calcium. The movement of water across cell membranes, the conduction of nerve impulses, and the contraction of muscles are all dependent on the presence of these electrolytes. Large electrolyte losses may lead to a number of neuromuscular and systemic problems, such as muscle cramping, tying up, synchronous diaphragmatic flutter (thumps), and systemic alkalosis. Other symptoms include thumping in the chest and fluttering in the diaphragm.
Through the administration of adequate fluid and electrolyte replacement, it is our mission as equine caregivers to protect the performance or stressed horse from developing an electrolyte imbalance and from becoming dehydrated. Maintaining balance may significantly delay reaching the point of exhaustion and also shorten the amount of time needed for recovery.
If you are providing a well-balanced commercial ration that is designed for a performance horse, there is a fair likelihood that the electrolyte requirements of a horse who is just gently to moderately exercised are being satisfied by the product. This holds true for the majority of situations (always make plain salt available). When the rate of loss is greater than the rate of replenishment, there is a potential for the supply of electrolytes to become an issue. If the horse sweats for an extended period of time, whether because of extreme weather conditions (high humidity, high heat), prolonged exercise (endurance type work), heavily worked/trained horses (race horses in training), or stressed horses (transporting), their electrolyte needs will not always be met by their feed. This is especially true if the horse has been working or exercising for an extended period of time. Electrolyte supplementation becomes important for these horses as a means of keeping the body’s functioning at their peak level and of avoiding dehydration via an increase in water consumption and intake. A horse that is already dehydrated should not have any electrolytes given to it unless it is being monitored by a veterinarian at the time of administration.
Horses do not “store” sodium, potassium or chloride. If the horse is not being worked or trained really hard on a daily basis and producing a significant quantity of sweat, then adding a daily electrolyte supplement would not be essential while following a balanced eating schedule. Choose an electrolyte formula that is acceptable to your horse while you are preparing for an event, and don’t wait until the day of the competition to find out whether or not it is appropriate to your horse. When adding electrolytes to water, proceed with care owing to the likelihood of a reduction in the amount of water consumed.
There is a wide range of consensus among experts on the optimal delivery regimens and dosage levels. You should proceed as directed by the manufacturer of the product you chose. Study your horse’s individual requirements and make adjustments based on the current weather. Prepare your horse to the required level for the competition via proper training. Increasing your electrolyte intake is not a suitable substitute for sufficient conditioning.
Electrolytes for horses with diarrhoea often include bicarbonate as one of the main ingredients. When used as an electrolyte supplement for conditions related to stress and exercise, they may be dangerous.
If electrolytes are consumed without enough water intake, this may result in water being drawn from the circulatory system into the intestines, which will lead to a more severe state of dehydration. The amount of water used might rise by seven to ten gallons per day when transitioning from a saddle horse that is not used for labour. Regularly check for indications of dehydration, and don’t wait until your horse seems dehydrated to start giving him electrolytes; do it before it’s too late! Acquire the skills necessary to execute tests such as the skin pinch, the capillary and jugular refill, the testing of the mucous membranes, and the listening for gastrointestinal noises. If you feel like you need it, continue taking your electrolyte supplements after the competition is ended to help speed up your recovery.