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Re: RC: low potassium, ok sodium
In a message dated 5/14/00 8:48:10 AM Pacific Daylight Time,
<< The respiratory alkalosis horses develop from racing may be part of the low
potassium (K+) picture. The electrolyte picture is quite complicated and
involves ion trade-offs in order to maintain pH, or acid-base balance. My
thinking is K+ is excreted so the body can retain H+ (hydrogen) to help
bring down the elevated pH occurring during extreme carbon dioxide (CO2)
loss. That's just one aspect of the electrolyte scenario (and it's not
quite the same in horses as in humans.) Any equine exercise physiologists
care to elaborate? >>
More is also driven into the cells in this scenario--as was previously
mentioned, circulating potassium does not necessarily reflect what is going
on in the body. I find it a bit worrisome that folks get the impression that
whatever is low can simply be replaced by syringing in more of whatever it
is--there are often very complex and dynamic mechanisms at work (as in the
case with potassium), and if the body is madly excreting or driving it
intracellular to try to balance pH, adding more could actually be harmful.
This is why simply empirically adding electrolytes (although it USUALLY
helps) can sometimes REALLY go awry. I am especially concerned about the
folks that describe adding potassium on a daily basis--if the horse is eating
plenty of good quality roughage, I'd start looking for reasons OTHER than a
deficiency in intake for low potassium levels...
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