Prolonged or strenuous exercise can be detrimental to the hydration and electrolyte status of the horse. Athletic, performing horses often endure sweating and sweating results in large electrolytes and water losses. In fact, horses competing in endurance events can lose significant amounts of their body weight (2-7%) primarily due to fluid losses.
When horses sweat they lose electrolytes, with the principal losses being chloride, sodium, potassium and small amounts of calcium and magnesium. If these essential nutrients are not replenished the consequences may include conditions such as dehydration, muscular weakness, overheating, tiredness and poor performance. Dehydrated horses can have a decrease in plasma volume leading to a decreased ability to perfuse the skeletal muscle and skin, resulting in exercise fatigue and hyperthermia. Thus, exercise increases the requirement for electrolytes substantially which requires specific dietary supplementation.
Ensuring electrolyte balance to an equine athlete is critical due to the importance of electrolytes, in particular sodium (Na), potassium (K) and chloride (CI), in maintaining proper cellular function.
Electrolytes are responsible for maintaining intracellular and extracellular fluid balance which is critical in controlling blood pressure and muscle contractions. Improper electrolyte balance caused by dehydration may lead to cardiac and neurological complications.
Electrolyte supplementation not only provides sodium, chloride, potassium, magnesium and calcium that are typically lost in sweat from exercise, but in doing so promotes rehydration in order to maintain plasma volume and electrolyte homeostasis.
Plusvital Electrolyte Plus is designed to replenish electrolytes in any situation where horses might sweat, particularly after training, travel, racing, during hot weather or competition. The dose rate should be adjusted according to the amount of sweat loss. PV Electrolyte Plus contains more electrolytes per dose than most other electrolyte supplements. Further, the amount of sugar has been reduced in order to avoid stimulating the glycemic index of the horse. While we have lowered the amount of sugar, we have added apple flavour to increase the palatability. For best results, administer after competition, work or in any situation where the horse sweats.
It is important to note that a veterinarian should be consulted before giving electrolytes to a horse that is not willing to drink water.
Learn more about Plusvital’s unique apple-flavoured preparation, which combines electrolyte salts with anti-oxidants to aid recovery, Electrolyte Plus, here.