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Effects of oral powder electrolyte administration on packed cell volume, plasma chemistry parameters, and incidence of colic in horses participating in a 6-day 162-km trail ride.


This study evaluated the effects of administering oral powder electrolytes on packed cell volume (PCV), plasma chemistry parameters, and incidence of colic in horses participating on a 6-day 162-km trail ride in which water was not offered ad libitum. Twenty-three horses received grain with powder electrolytes daily while 19 control horses received grain only. Horses were ridden approximately 32 km a day at a walk or trot. Packed cell volume and plasma chemistry parameters were analyzed daily. Episodes of colic were diagnosed and treated by a veterinarian unaware of treatment group allocation. Blood parameters and incidence of colic were compared between treatment groups. Electrolyte administration did not alter PCV or plasma chemistry parameters compared to controls. The incidence of colic was significantly higher in treated horses (P = 0.05). Oral powder electrolytes did not enhance hydration status or electrolyte homeostasis and may be associated with colic in horses participating on long distance trail rides similar to this model.

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