Replenishing Electrolytes with Slow-Release TechnologyBy Kentucky Equine Research Staff · August 15, 2017
Every horseperson has seen and felt the white grit that remains on a horse’s coat long after he’s dried from sweating. But do you know what that is?
The grit is residual electrolytes that have left the body with the sweat and dried on the coat. It’s easy to see that the more the horse sweats, the more electrolytes end up outside the body on the coat. In fact, horse sweat is more concentrated in electrolytes than blood, which is the opposite of humans, so there is potential for extreme losses of electrolytes in exercising horses.
Electrolyte supplements can help replace these losses. The most effective products contain sodium, chloride, potassium, magnesium, and calcium in levels that make up for losses. Feeding instructions on electrolyte products often contain an intake range based on workload and level of sweating to ensure adequate supplementation is provided.
If you’re new to buying electrolytes, take a close look at the ingredients. Electrolyte supplements containing sugar should be avoided since they typically do not contain sufficient minerals to replace losses. Also, keep in mind that feeding a concentrated electrolyte dose causes a surge in blood electrolyte levels, flushing electrolytes just fed and shortchanging the horse of vital supplementation.
Advanced equine electrolyte technology led to the introduction of a product that contains slow-release sodium. The product, called Restore® SR, allows sodium to be released gradually into the gastrointestinal tract for sustained absorption.
Though many electrolyte products are powdered and therefore added directly to feed or water, many come as pastes, which typically match the powdered products in composition, assuming they are well-formulated, and are easy to administer. Electrolyte pastes sometimes contain buffers to diminish any gastric irritation the salts in the paste might cause. Try one with these features that is also easy to administer, such as Restore® Paste.
Wondering if these supplements are right for your horse? Simply answer a few questions and a KER nutrition advisor will be in touch.