Electrolyte Balance in Horses
Horses, just like other mammals, go through a physiological process known as homeostasis that stabilizes internal functions. A great example of homeostasis is the regulation of a horse’s internal body temperature when exercising. It does this by secreting a clear odorless liquid, sweat, from the sweat glands that maintains heat loss through evaporation. Sweating is a major component in this complex system and extremely necessary in reducing physiological stress on your horse. When it comes to horses that are put through strenuous amounts of exercise, the horses homeostatic process stimulates larger quantities of sweat to be produced which contain mostly water and vital molecules called electrolytes.
Electrolytes are minerals such as sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium, and magnesium that aid regulation in nerve and muscle function. Electrolyte maintenance and fluid balance plays major roles in hydration, repairing muscles, and overall wellness. The concentration of electrolytes in a horse sweat is higher than most mammals and causes a delay in thirst due to electrolyte imbalance. If horses are not supplemented with electrolytes after difficult training, it will affect their overall performance and health. A lack of electrolytes can cause horses to become majorly dehydrated, muscle fatigued, and other severe cases such as azoturia or “tying-up” or even situations that can be lethal.
Equine electrolyte supplements have the capability to reverse dehydration and a deteriorating performance if given before or during heavy exercise.
- The most important electrolyte for a horse is sodium chloride, commonly known as table salt. Sodium chloride is not necessarily found in a horse’s diet but required for proper fluid balance and utilized in the sweating process. Sodium chloride has been proven by equine experts to be easily absorbed by a horse’s system. When a horse it administered sodium chloride it will have a greater sense of rehydrating and become thirsty faster. It is recommended that horses be given about 1 oz of sodium daily for optimal wellness.
- Calcium is another imperative electrolyte that is well known for building and repairing bones and teeth. Calcium also has other roles in muscle contraction, cell membrane function, and regulating enzymes in the equines system. Calcium absorption is affected by the uptake of other minerals including magnesium. Calcium will have a higher absorption when there is magnesium present.
- Magnesium as mentioned above is another mineral that can aid in your horse’s wellbeing. Magnesium deficiencies can result in muscle tremors, incoordination, respiratory problems and most of all nervousness. Magnesium is known by experts to have a calming effect on your horse, thus relieves an equines bodily or mental tension.
- Potassium is a vital macromineral required for acid-base balance and osmotic balance in skeletal muscle functioning. Forage contains high amounts of potassium, yet a deficiency can cause significant problems corresponding to water loss for heavily exercised horses. A horses sweat contains more potassium than sodium and therefore should be supplemented in order for proper weight management.
Equilytes is patented with many of the minerals mentioned above that are proven to help dehydration, fluid balance, proper muscle functioning, etc. Equilytes, tested and formulated by Dr. Larson, has a patented chelation process that presents the vital electrolytes readily to an equines system to be absorbed in 5 minutes. Equilytes provides every endurance horse the proper dosage of electrolytes that will enhance your companion’s performance to accomplish their highest achievements.