Thursday, August 5, 2010

Wow! Now we’re getting serious: The science behind electrolyte imbalances..

Now we're getting a bit more in depth.  We've now seen what electrolytes are, how to give them, how to test for dehydration and how to encourage horses to drink.  Now lets look at what can happen if things do go wrong.  



In severe cases of electrolyte imbalance the result can be tying-up or azoturia which means a horse simply cannot use his muscles correctly and in worst case scenario's leads to horses collapsing.  This is because of a drop in potassium or sodium levels (urine test would tell you this) and is actually a break down of muscle fibers hence the full name - Rhabdomyolysis.  'Rhabdomyo' as the skeletal muscles are effected and -'lysis' because they are being broken down.



Those of you who've competed in hot or humid climates (which sometimes includes the U.K!!) may have heard of the 'horse exhaustion complex' which is simply heat stroke and dehydration together including electrolyte depletion - what it says on the packet.



Electrolyte deficiency can also result in 'asynchronous diaphragmatic flutter' or put simply 'thumps'.  This sounds similar to hiccups and the horses flanks will twitch.  It's a strong indication of an electrolyte imbalance but the actual process isn't really that harmful.





But that's only the more extreme cases and chances are you won't come across these situations.  On a brighter note though - how about kitting out the lorry with some new colour coordinated buckets for all that water! Check out these trendy designs which come in all the colours of the rainbow: Tubtrugs Multi Coloured Feed Buckets & Covers



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