Effects of sodium bicarbonate on fluid, electrolyte and acid-base balance in racehorses.Br Vet J. 1995 Sep-Oct; 151(5):523-45.BV
Sodium bicarbonate given by nasogastric tube has been used by some trainers as the key ingredient in a 'milkshake'. It has been suggested that such treatment given 3-5 h prior to racing may enhance a horse's racing performance by increasing the blood buffering capacity and enhancing lactate clearance from skeletal muscle, thereby delaying the onset of fatigue. Several experiments were conducted to examine the effects on fluid, electrolyte and acid-base values of 0.5 g kg-1 dose of sodium bicarbonate, were examined. The effects of fasting, the simultaneous administration of glucose (0.5 g kg-1) or the withholding of water were also examined to determine whether they influenced the uptake and elimination of sodium bicarbonate. Six Thoroughbred horses were used, each wearing a urine and faecal collection harness. Prior to sodium bicarbonate administration, venous blood, urine and faecal samples were collected for 24 h to establish control values. After administration of sodium bicarbonate (0.5 g kg-1) in 2 l of water, samples were collected at various times for up to 46 h. There were significant increases in water consumption, from 0.5-2.3 l h-1 at 2 h post-administration. Urine output increased by approximately three fold and did not return to control levels until 18 h post-administration. Urinary sodium concentration increased from 95 +/- 16 mmol l-1 (mean +/- SEM) to peak values of 349 +/- 12 mmol l-1 at 12 h. In the 24 h after sodium bicarbonate administration, approximately 80% of the sodium intake (NaHCO3+feed) was excreted in the urine. There was no significant change in the total urinary potassium and chloride excretion. Faecal water content did not change following sodium bicarbonate administration, but there was an increase in faecal sodium content. The mean increase in venous blood bicarbonate concentration was 7.6 +/- 0.4 mmol l-1 after the 0.5 kg-1 dose. Water deprivation for 6 h after sodium bicarbonate administration, fasting or the co-administration of glucose did not affect the peak blood bicarbonate concentration or the time to peak concentration. However, the withholding of water did result in a faster rate of decrease in blood bicarbonate concentration when water was resupplied.