- Why is electrolyte supplementation important?
Electrolytes perform critical functions within the horse’s body. They help regulate nerve and muscle functions by carrying electrical impulses between cells. In addition, they assist the body in maintaining fluid balance. Under normal circumstances, well-nourished, sedentary horses have little trouble keeping electrolytes at appropriate levels without additional supplementation. This does not, however, hold true for equine athletes or horses maintained in hot, humid environments. Horses cool themselves through sweating. Those that are exercised regularly at moderate to high levels of intensity may lose more electrolytes through sweat than their bodies are capable of replacing. In these instances, electrolyte supplementation is important. Adequate electrolyte supplementation also prevents dehydration by increasing the thirst response.
When significant losses in electrolytes and fluid are not prevented through adequate electrolyte supplementation, neuromuscular disturbances such as muscle cramping, muscle fatigue, tying-up, and synchronous diaphragmatic flutter (thumps) may occur. Even in mild forms these conditions can have a negative impact on a horse’s ability to perform at optimal levels and recover from exercise.
- How much Endura-Max should I give my endurance horse during a competition?
Because of the tremendous sweat loss during a race, an endurance horse should receive 2 oz the night before, 2 oz prior to starting, and 2 oz at every vet check.
Always provide horses receiving electrolyte supplementation with free-choice, clean water. Lack of adequate water in a diet supplemented with electrolytes may lead to dehydration and other serious metabolic disorders.
- Is daily supplementation necessary for my endurance horse?
Daily supplementation of electrolytes to an endurance horse is discretionary. A normal maintenance intake for horses at rest in hot environments, those that sweat when being transported, or those that sweat during light work is 1 oz per day.
Horses at moderate work levels should receive 2-3 oz per day, and those in heavy training require 3-4 oz per day. It is recommended to divide daily doses of 3-4 oz into separate feedings.
Always provide free-choice, clean water to horses receiving electrolyte supplementation. Lack of adequate water in a diet supplemented with electrolytes may lead to dehydration and other serious metabolic disorders.
- Can I put Endura-Max in my horse’s water?
We do not recommend that any electrolytes be added to drinking water. Since some ingredients do not dissolve well, it makes it difficult to determine the amount your horse has consumed. Mixing electrolytes into the feed or combining them with a carrier such as applesauce or syrup, or dosing electrolytes with a syringe is the best way to administer a well-balanced electrolyte such as Endura-Max.
- How is Endura-Max uniquely formulated for endurance horses?
Research has shown that not only do endurance horses deplete sodium, chloride, and potassium, but also high levels of calcium and magnesium. Because electrolyte balance is critical for maintenance of health and performance, it is crucial to replace all the lost electrolytes. Endura-Max is formulated to restore the key electrolytes lost in sweat, such as sodium, chloride, and potassium. Unlike other electrolytes, Endura-Max also replaces much-needed calcium and magnesium.
- Can Endura-Max be used for horses other than endurance horses?
No. Endura-Max is a unique formula designed for the special needs of endurance horses. The long duration of work performed by these horses, often in hot, humid environments, results in unique metabolic conditions that are not typically experienced by other performance horses. Endura-Max provides additional calcium and magnesium that are required by horses participating in low-intensity, long-duration work. Kentucky Performance Products recommends the use of Summer Games® Electrolyte for performance horses other than endurance horses.
- What is the role of electrolytes?
Electrolytes play an important role in maintaining osmotic pressure (which regulates the flow of water in and out of the cells in the body), fluid balance, and normal nerve and muscle activity.
- How does exercise cause dehydration?
Horses generate a tremendous amount of heat in their bodies when they exercise or when they are stressed. When the core body temperature rises, the sweat response is triggered. Sweat is nature’s way of cooling the horse’s body through evaporation off the surface of the skin and it helps keep his core temperature at normal levels. Sweat is made up of fluid and electrolytes, so when horses sweat they lose both water and minerals. Exercise can lead to dehydration when a horse is unable to rehydrate adequately during and after exercise. Dehydration leads to a change in osmotic pressure that signals the metabolic system to begin shutting down. It also decreases the thirst response so horses stop drinking, making matters worse. We have learned that proper hydration is extremely important not only to optimal performance but to the overall well-being of the horse. The administration of a well-balanced electrolyte developed to meet the needs of the endurance horse, such as Endura-Max, will lower the risk of exercise-induced dehydration
- How do electrolytes keep horses drinking?
Thirst, the desire to drink, is stimulated when electrolyte concentrations in the blood rise, signaling the body to get a drink. That is why you are thirsty after a salty meal. In the horse, when large proportions of electrolytes are lost due to sweating, the concentrations of electrolytes in the blood remain static and even though the horse is dehydrated he does not get the physiological signal to drink. By replacing the electrolytes lost during sweating the signal to drink remains “turned on.” Since the ratio of electrolytes is critical to maintaining the correct electrolyte balance, it is important to offer an electrolyte that provides the correct electrolytes in the proper ratios, such as Endura-Max. It is also very important to always provide free-access to fresh water when a horse is being supplemented with electrolytes.
- What happens without electrolytes?
Loss of electrolytes causes fatigue and muscle weakness, and decreases the thirst response. Horses are at high risk of developing dehydration that can lead to neuromuscular disorders, colic and other life-threatening conditions.
- How do I know if my horse is working hard enough to require electrolyte supplementation?
Any level of work produces body heat and subsequent sweating. The sweat may be evaporating before you see it. Also take into consideration factors such as the time your horse spends in a trailer or tied to the trailer at an event during the heat of the day. The stress of unfamiliar environments alone can cause your horse to sweat. Under any of these circumstances, the electrolytes that are lost in sweat cannot be replaced from the daily ration of grain and forage alone and supplementation with Endura-Max is appropriate.
- What will happen if I give my horse too many electrolytes?
The most important thing to remember when supplementing a horse’s diet with electrolytes is to provide free-choice, clean water. In situations where electrolytes are given in excess of requirements, the horse’s system will filter the unused minerals and excrete the excess in the urine. As long as plenty of water is provided to wash away the excess, the potential for harm is minimal. If a horse refuses or is unable to drink, consult with your veterinarian immediately.
- What is the visible difference in horses receiving electrolyte supplementation?
Horses offered the appropriate well-balanced electrolytes tend to recover from hard exercise sooner, return to feed quicker, and begin the necessary rebuilding phase that occurs after exertion.