The water intake of a horse is an important component of a horse’s total daily water intake and should be considered, when possible, in a water restriction program to help maintain an optimal level of hydration and weight gain. However, it is important to note that the level of water intake that is beneficial to horses as a whole may not be appropriate for a particular individual horse.
Water intake is an integral part of an adequate water diet, but when it is not provided to horses, the levels of nutrition that are beneficial to health are compromised. Therefore, the most important part of the water intake is the number of water-soluble vitamins and minerals that meet the individual horse’s specific requirements.
A horse with a high energy and protein level may need a higher level of water intake to match this higher energy level. In addition, the amount of water that horses require depends on the individual horse’s individual hydration needs. Therefore, when water is not provided to a horse, it is critical to match the proper levels of water intake with other sources, including adequate amounts of solid food and water-soluble vitamins.
When choosing a water supplement for a horse, consider the relative advantages and disadvantages of supplementing with each method. For example, if a horse consumes the correct amount of water daily to maintain his weight, then the equivalent of a low-calorie, high-protein supplement will be more beneficial than a high-calorie, low-protein supplement.
Water supplements may provide the desired benefits while reducing the horse’s risk of disease. However, in order to use water supplements with horses, it is important to choose the best water-soluble minerals and vitamins.
Horses with kidney disease or renal disease may need to supplement their water intake with electrolyte supplements. For these horses, choosing a combination of water supplements that enhance the water absorption to allow electrolyte levels to be maintained is recommended.
Horses with kidney disease or renal disease do not absorb as well as horses without this disease, thus requiring a higher level of water intake as compared with horses without kidney disease or renal disease. An electrolyte supplement that contains magnesium or other magnesium sources also may assist in water intake.
The amount of water needed to meet the levels of nutrition needs of different organs varies from one individual to another. Therefore, horses with differing organs and/or individual diets may need special water supplementation to meet their requirements.
As stated earlier,
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