Horse Electrolytes

 
Electrolytes

 
Electrolytes are minerals that are stored in the blood and tissues in the horses’ body. The electrolytes stored in the cells are involved in muscle and nerve function and are also involved in producing waste. 
 
 
The main electrolytes found in the horse are: 
 
- Chloride
- Calcium  
- Potassium  
- Magnesium 
- Calcium

It is important to ensure that your horse is getting enough electrolytes as they help to keep the right balance of fluid in the body’s cells. Electrolytes are lost through sweating, passing urine and faeces. When the horse sweats it loses body fluids which contain the listed electrolytes. The diet of most horses will contain enough electrolytes to replace any that have been lost in these ways. If your horse is in hard exercise and sweating on a regular basis then it is important to replace the electrolytes through supplementation, especially during hot weather, where the horse will produce more sweat throughout the day to help keep itself cool. If your horse is deficient in any of the electrolytes then it can cause a reduction in performance, due to muscle fatigue and reduced co-ordination, a reduction in concentration and dehydration. 
 
 
 
Signs to look out for if you think your horse could be deficient in electrolytes:
 
 
Dull coat  
Depression   
Horse not showing interest in anything   
Reduction in performance   
Dark urine
 
 
Supplementation
 
To ensure that your horse does not become deficient in any of the electrolytes, you can add an electrolyte supplement to your horses feed. Ideally the levels of electrolytes in the diet should be equal to the amount of electrolytes that have been lost. As a guide the levels of sodium and potassium should be roughly the same as the levels of chloride in the supplement. It should also contain small amount of calcium and magnesium, some companies may also add sugar to improve the taste but it also helps to increase how quickly the electrolytes are absorbed into the horses system. Some electrolyte supplements are designed to be fed on a daily basis and some are designed to be fed only around periods of intense sweating, for example after exercise or travelling. Below is a table showing the different brands and electrolyte supplements and if they are added to feed or water or syringed directly into the horses’ mouth and also if they are designed to be fed on a daily basis or just after intense exercise or sweating.


For advice on which electrolyte supplement would be suitable for your horse it would be advisable for you to contact one of the companies listed in the table above.