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Am J Vet Res. 2002 Jul;63(7):1053-60.

Plasma and urine electrolyte and mineral concentrations in Thoroughbred horses with recurrent exertional rhabdomyolysis after consumption of diets varying in cation-anion balance.

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  • 1Department of Clinical and Population Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota, St Paul 55108, USA.



To determine whether plasma, urine, and fecal electrolyte and mineral concentrations differ between clinically normal horses and Thoroughbreds with recurrent exertional rhabdomyolysis (RER) after consumption of diets varying in cation-anion balance.


5 Thoroughbred mares with RER and 6 clinically normal mixed-breed mares.


Each of 3 isocaloric diets designated as low, medium, and high on the basis of dietary cation-anion balance (DCAB) values of 85, 190, and 380, respectively, were fed to horses for 14 days. During the last 72 hours, 3 horses with RER and 3 control horses had daily urine and fecal samples obtained by total 24-hour collection. Remaining horses had urine samples collected daily by single catheterization.


For each diet, no differences existed between horses with RER and control horses in plasma pH, electrolyte concentrations, and creatine kinase activity or in urine pH and renal fractional excretion (FE) values. Plasma pH, strong ion difference, bicarbonate and total carbon dioxide concentrations, and base excess decreased and plasma chloride and ionized calcium concentrations increased with decreasing DCAB. Urine pH decreased with decreasing DCAB. The FE of chloride and phosphorus were greatest for horses fed the low diet. The FE values for all electrolytes exept magnesium did not differ between urine samples obtained by single catheterization and total 24-hour collection. Daily balance of calcium, phosphorus, sodium, chloride, and potassium did not differ significantly among horses fed the various diets.


In clinically normal horses and in horses with RER, the DCAB strongly affects plasma and urine pH and the FE of sodium, potassium, chloride, and phosphorus.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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