Revving up your horse's electrolyte game
Posted by The Vet Group on
How Apple Lytes can give your horse the competitive edge in Dubai's hot climate.
With the end of the competition season and the hot weather fast approaching in Dubai, it is crucial to discuss the significance of electrolyte supplements.
Electrolytes have various important functions in the body, such as:
- muscle contraction,
- maintaining fluid balance,
- and supporting the nervous system.
While electrolytes are present in a regular diet, they may need to be supplemented during times of increased activity or in hot and humid conditions when water and electrolyte loss through sweat increases.
Zeyner et al. (2014) developed a sweat scoring system for horses that can provide an estimate of the amount of sweat lost. A condensed version of the scoring system is presented below:
Zeyner et al. (2014). Scoring of sweat losses in exercised horses – A pilot study. Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition 98: 146-50.
Horses, especially those engaged in racing, require adequate electrolytes to recover after the racing season. Horses have extensive muscles that generate heat quickly, and they cool down through sweating via their skin. Horse sweat is hypertonic, which means it contains a higher concentration of salt and electrolytes than their blood. After a sweaty horse dries, you can observe the salt and electrolytes on their coat. It is vital to recognize these differences when considering electrolyte supplementation for horses, particularly during hot and humid weather conditions.
In an hour of moderate exercise such as trotting and cantering, a horse may lose as much as 5-7 liters of fluid and 50-70g of electrolytes.
This loss will increase with an increase in the duration or intensity of work, and more so during hot and humid weather conditions. Using table salt alone to replace lost electrolytes in horses is not recommended. While sodium and chloride are lost in substantial amounts through horse sweat, other electrolytes like potassium, calcium, and magnesium must also be replenished to avoid neuromuscular depletion, including muscle fasciculations, cramping, and thumps (diaphragmatic flutter).
What are the other benefits of Apple Lytes over table salt?
While APPLE LYTES™ do contain sodium chloride, they also provide a balanced mix of potassium, calcium, and magnesium. This carefully formulated blend is designed to effectively replace the full spectrum of electrolytes lost through horse sweat. If electrolytes are not fully replenished, horses may experience depleted neuromuscular function, including muscle cramps, fasciculations, and diaphragmatic flutter (thumps).
Apple Lytes™ are also available in three formulations: powder, paste, and a new liquid solution.
It has a low sugar content, and is highly palatable with an apple and cherry flavor that is appealing to even the pickiest eaters.
Additionally, Apple Lytes™ are accredited by BETA NOPS and UFAS, ensuring they are free of prohibited substances and are suitable for horses competing under FEI regulations and the Rules of Racing.
Apple Lytes also provide a convenient serving rate, making it easy to ensure lost electrolytes are replaced at the correct rate to promote rehydration, recovery, and optimum performance.
Also view this clip from Equine America's Top Nutritionist Deborah Leabeater 🐎 where she explains the Importance of Electrolytes in more detail: https://youtu.be/zJCWTA5X1kY
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