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Equine Vet J. 1990 Mar;22(2):118-21.

Equine urine pH: normal population distributions and methods of acidification.

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  • 1Department of Veterinary Science, Maxwell H. Gluck Equine Research Center, Lexington, Kentucky.


Our investigation of the urine of grazing horses at the University of Kentucky shows that the mean pH level is about 7.9, and if their diet is supplemented with grain, it is about 7.4. There appears to be no significant effect of time of day or year on urine pH levels in horses. However, horses taken from pasture and supplemented with grain in a stalled environment show a slight decrease in urine pH. Additionally, we investigated the effects of storage on pH levels. Equine urine samples appear to be quite stable with regard to pH for 48h, but then show a marked increase. Urine pH can have a great effect on the urine concentration of some drugs and therefore, uncertainties can arise when data generated in grazing horses are compared or extrapolated to racing horses whose urine pH can be quite low. In an effort to simulate the drop in urine pH seen in some racing horses, we examined the effects of ammonium chloride, ascorbic acid, lactic acid and methionine on urine pH in research horses. Both oral and intravenous routes of administration were used. Although all agents tested showed varying degrees of efficacy, oral administration of ascorbic acid proved to be the safest and most effective agent to model the rapid acidification of urine seen in post race samples.

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