DRINK UP

EQUUS - - Eq Tack& Gear -

When a horse be­gins to sweat, flu­ids from his blood­stream pass through the sweat glands to emerge onto the sur­face of the skin. But as he con­tin­ues sweat­ing, the blood left be­hind be­comes more con­cen­trated. Long be­fore the blood be­comes too dense for the heart to pump it, other fluid re­serves within the body are drawn into the blood­stream to keep the crit­i­cal red cells mov­ing as the horse works. Which parts of the body are the pri­mary sources for the backup fluid?

An­swer: a. and b. The gas­troin­testi­nal tract, es­pe­cially the ce­cum0 and large in­tes­tine, is an im­por­tant reser­voir of flu­ids that are rich in nu­tri­ents and elec­trolytes from the horse’s feed. The blood will also draw a lot of fluid from the spa­ces be­tween his cells. If the horse con­tin­ues sweat­ing to the point where

th­ese re­serves are run­ning low, his body will start to draw fluid from inside of his cells. At this point, how­ever, he is be­com­ing se­ri­ously de­hy­drated. Horses who sweat too long with­out re­plen­ish­ing their flu­ids can ex­pe­ri­ence a num­ber of health is­sues, rang­ing from im­paction colic to ty­ing up. For­tu­nately, most horses

a. the in­ter­sti­tial spa­ces, the ar­eas be­tween the body cells b. the gas­troin­testi­nal tract c. the lym­phatic sys­tem d. the lungs

need noth­ing more than rest and ac­cess to fresh wa­ter to make a com­plete re­cov­ery from an in­tense work­out. A sig­nif­i­cantly de­hy­drated horse may re­quire sev­eral days of rest and drink­ing, and a vet­eri­nar­ian may need to re­hy­drate the horse in­tra­venously or through na­so­gas­tric in­tu­ba­tion.

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