To compare effects of oral supplementation with an experimental potassium-free sodium-abundant electrolyte mixture (EM-K) with that of oral supplementation with commercial potassium-rich mixtures (EM+K) on acid-base status and plasma ion concentrations in horses during an 80-km endurance ride.
46 healthy horses.
Blood samples were collected before the ride; at 21-, 37-, 56-, and 80-km inspection points; and during recovery (ie, 30-minute period after the ride). Consumed electrolytes were recorded. Blood was analyzed for pH, PvCO2, and Hct, and plasma was analyzed for Na+, K+, Cl-, Ca2+, Mg2+, lactate, albumin, phosphate, and total protein concentrations. Plasma concentrations of H+ and HCO3-, the strong ion difference (SID), and osmolarity were calculated.
34 (17 EM-K and 17 EM+K treated) horses finished the ride. Potassium intake was 33 g less and Na+ intake was 36 g greater for EM-K-treated horses, compared with EM+K-treated horses. With increasing distance, plasma osmolarity; H+, Na+, K+, Mg2+, phosphate, lactate, total protein, and albumin concentrations; and PvCO2 and Hct were increased in all horses. Plasma HCO3-, Ca2+, and Cl- concentrations were decreased. Plasma H+ concentration was significantly lower in EM-K-treated horses, compared with EM+K-treated horses. Plasma K+ concentrations at the 80-km inspection point and during recovery were significantly less in EM-K-treated horses, compared with EM+K-treated horses.
Increases in plasma H+ and K+ concentrations in this endurance ride were moderate and unlikely to contribute to signs of muscle fatigue and hyperexcitability in horses.