Why is Salt Important?
Salt is the most important mineral required by horses, yet its importance is sometimes overlooked by horse owners enabling salt deficiency. Salt is made up of the minerals sodium and chloride. Sodium is important for muscle contraction, conduction of nerve impulses, and aiding in the digestion of protein. Sodium also plays a key role in the absorption of essential nutrients within the small intestine. Chloride enhances the transport of carbon dioxide from tissues to the lungs and is essential for the maintenance of blood pH.
Symptoms of Salt Deficiency
Due to salt being an essential part of nutrition; just like any other nutritional deficiency, when a horse’s salt requirement is not met health consequences may develop. If a horse does not have access to salt for a prolonged period, salt deficiency will develop.
If your horse develops a salt deficiency, possible symptoms may include:
- Pica (eating unusual things)
- Lack of sweat
- Decreased appetite and weight lose
- Reduced muscle coordination
- Lowered milk production in lactating mares
Feeding Salt to Horses
Whilst High-performance horses are more susceptible to a salt deficiency as they sweat more, which is one way salt leaves the body. The standard 500kg horse may still require approx 30-50 grams of salt daily throughout the year just to meet its essential maintanence needs.
Salt or mineral blocks are often the best course of action and should always be available for your horse to use at liberty. Constant access to blocks allows your horse to self regulate their salt intake to suit their daily needs. Ranvet’s weather resistant Salt Lick is an both an efficient and cost effective approach to providing your horse with its daily salt requirement. Ranvet’s Salt Licks come in 2kg and 10kg sizes, with complementary holders for each size also being available. Alternatively loose salt can be added directly into your horses daily feed at a rate of approx 2 tablespoons per day for a 500kg horse.
Ranvet Salt Lick