Electrolytes for horses: what role do they play in balancing the body?

Horses are extraordinarily athletic animals and require special care and attention to safeguard their health and maintain peak performance.

Among the most important aspects to consider is thebalance of electrolytes in their bodies. Electrolytes are essential substances that play a vital role in maintaininghydration, chemical balance and proper functioning of horses’ nervous and muscular systems. Hence their physical and mental well-being and the resulting improvements in motor skills.

In this article, we will explore the importance of electrolytes for horses and their contribution to the balance of the body.

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The role of electrolytes in horses

Electrolytes, such as sodium, potassium, chlorine, magnesium, and calcium, are essential minerals that play key roles in regulatingwater balance, muscle contraction, nerve impulse transmission, digestion, and other vital neurological functions in the horse.

During intense exercise, horses produce sweat to cool their bodies and thus dissipate internal heat; they lose water with sweat and, with it, significant amounts of electrolytes.

People who spend a lot of time in contact with horses are aware of how important this is to their health and how necessary it is to replenish lost water and substances.

Lack of electrolytes can lead to problems such as dehydration, muscle fatigue, cramping and twitching, slowed performance, and reduced ability to recover.

Horses tend to lose electrolytes not only through sweating but also through expulsion in urine and feces, and then replenish them through normal feeding.

The sweating of the horse that performs rather intense physical activities, however, affects its condition so much; suffice it to say that by sweating, a horse can lose as much as 10 kg of body weight in fluids in a few minutes of activity.

The horse’s body, as we all know, is largely composed of water. For its health, in mild weather, an equine drinks between 25 and 30 liters of water per day, which varies depending on its weight, breed and activity.

This should make us realize how much hydration affects the proper function of his body and his overall well-being.

The signs of electrolyte imbalance in horses

In order not to make a mistake in the assessment, it is always advisable to monitor your horse’s hydration level periodically through blood tests at your veterinarian’s office.

Clearly, it is not possible to perform certain checks too frequently, and therefore, it is interesting and functional to learn how to recognize some visible signs of dehydration in order to intervene promptly in case of electrolyte imbalances or lack of water.

Each horse has different requirements depending on its age, condition, habits and activity. Certainly it will be more likely that a horse engaged in fairly intense physical activity will need more electrolyte supplementation than a horse engaged in lighter activity.

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Some signs of electrolyte deficiency are common, however, and may be lethargy, loss of appetite, excessive thirst, reduced ability to concentrate, muscle cramps, electrical imbalances in the nervous system, cardiac irregularities, and a dry, dull coat and coat.

There is also often a decline in performance due to slowed recovery and muscle aches resulting from lactic acid overload.

All these signs may reveal to us hydration problems and electrolyte deficiency.

If you notice one or more of these symptoms in your horse, you may need adequate electrolyte supplementation, a key component that can help your horse avoid losing fluids too easily and in excessive amounts.

The importance of optimal recovery

Effective recovery after physical activity is essential for the well-being and performance of horses.

Adequate electrolyte intake during the recovery period helps restorebalance within the horse’s body, promotes rehydration and contributes to proper muscle function.

In addition, optimal recovery reduces the risk of injuries and injuries to the musculoskeletal system, promotes muscle growth, and maintains the horse’s stamina and vitality.

Restore® SR: The electrolyte-based horse supplement

To intervene in cases of dehydration or lack of electrolytes or to prevent problems related to this important area of equine nutrition, there are specific supplements that can maintain electrolyte balance.

Restore® SR is a high-quality product that differs from others in its patented assimilation-level action.

Developed by Kentucky Equine Research, a leading international equine research center, Restore® SR is a slow-release, homogeneous electrolyte supplement.

The difference lies in not immediately administering the intended quotas of substances because this does not allow the body to assimilate them properly.

Restore® SR is designed to make sure that horses can keep their electrolyte reserves constant and continuous over time. In fact, the latest technology in electrolyte therapy is used on this product; the innovation is a mechanism that allows the slow gradual release of sodium and other components directly into the gastrointestinal tract for prolonged absorption.

Administration of a concentrated dose of electrolytes causes an immediate increase in blood levels, but a concentrated dose also stimulates increased electrolyte secretion, removing the newly administered electrolytes and depriving the horse of needed supplementation. In contrast, when sodium and other components are delivered slowly they are fully absorbed and utilized.

  • Musculoskeletal Wellness
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    Kentucky Equine Research

    Restore® SR

    Feeding Supplements


Seek advice from an experienced nutritionist; he or she will be able to advise you on the doses and methods of administration best suited to each individual case.

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