May 21, 2021
In this post, Jessica Huntington, DVM, from Stephenville, Texas discusses why electrolytes for horses are necessary and in what situations they're indicated and beneficial. Dr. Huntington takes an integrative approach to the equine athlete by combining traditional veterinary medicine with chiropractic care and acupuncture.
Did you know your horse’s body is made up of almost 70 percent water? That’s why proper hydration is so important to your horse’s health. It plays a vital role in nerve and muscle function and is essential for optimum health and performance, while dehydration can cause devastating complications.
We all want our horses to look, feel, and perform their best. We can help them do that by paying attention to how much and how often they drink, learning what situations trigger them to stop drinking, and knowing how to combat dehydration. One tool to is to use an equine electrolyte paste like Redmond Electrolyte.
Hydration starts with supplying your horse access to fresh, clean water, providing a salt source, and occasionally offering an equine electrolyte paste. Electrolytes are critical to hydration. They stimulate your horse’s thirst response and replenish essential minerals used up during increased work or stress.
Here are eight situations where your horse may specifically benefit from an electrolyte paste.
Horses are less likely to drink when hauling and experiencing new environments. Administering an electrolyte paste before and during travel will stimulate your horse’s thirst response and help them stay hydrated on the road.
Horses need electrolytes to function at optimum levels. Giving your horse a paste before a performance increases energy levels, ensures muscles are more fit, keeps your horse hydrated under stress—and gives you a better chance at success.
Performing requires a great deal from our horses. They expend concerted amounts of mental focus and physical energy when competing. Using an electrolyte paste after a performance can help ease stress and speed up recovery time for tired muscles.
All horses sweat, and sweat contains electrolytes. These electrolytes aren’t stored up in the body and need to be replenished often. Any time your horse sweats excessively, they’re losing copious amounts of electrolytes and would benefit from a paste.
If you live in an area where heat and humidity are a factor, you’ll want to keep electrolytes on hand. Horses are at significant risk for electrolyte imbalance and heat stress in humid weather, and a good paste can play a significant role in rehydrating.
Seasonal and extreme weather changes bring unique challenges for horses, one being a disinclination to drink. If your area experiences a rapid change in weather, or excessive heat or cold, an electrolyte paste can help your horse’s water consumption stay more consistent.
If your horse is colicky, he’s probably completely disinterested in drinking. Administering an electrolyte paste can enhance the thirst mechanisms that get your horse drinking again, and also help ease painful muscle spasms that accompany colic.
A horse experiencing an episode of loose stool or diarrhea is in danger of quickly becoming dehydrated. One way to decrease fluid loss, increase water retention and speed up recovery is to give your horse an electrolyte paste.
Providing your horse with a quality electrolyte paste like Redmond Electrolyte, which I recommend to my own clients, can encourage your horse to drink, ensure they receive necessary electrolytes, and help them feel and perform their best.
Jessica Huntington, DVM
Are you familiar with the early signs of dehydration in horses? Read these 5 Ways to Tell if Your Horse is Dehydrated to find out.
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