Horses with a salt deficiency will begin to exhibit abnormal eating habits known as pica. As such, they will begin to lick rocks, wood, bark or anything that has trace amounts of salt. This condition can progress so far as to result in the horse eating soil. However, it should be noted that pica is not always caused by salt deficiency and therefore shouldn’t be the foundation of a diagnosis. Instead, take pica as an early warning sign that your horse may not be receiving sufficient amounts of salt in its daily feed.
If continually left untreated, a salt deficiency can lead to even greater health threats. Weight loss and stunted growth have been known to be precursors to anorexia in horses that don’t receive enough salt.
There are many ways to supply a horse with the proper amount of salt. One way is through a salt block. These solid blocks can be left out and the horse will lick them as necessary. However, there are a few drawbacks to using a salt block. First is the fact that some horses, especially very athletic ones, cannot get their required salt intake simply by licking the block. Another issue is the fact that stalled horses have a tendency to use the salt block as a toy, licking and chewing it even when they don’t necessarily need more salt. Extremely high salt levels has been known to cause toxicosis, a potentially fatal condition that is usually accompanied by diarrhea and frequent urination.
A better way to make sure your horse is getting the salt it needs is through a daily feed supplement. This will ensure that your horse has regular access to salt in a form that is easy to ingest. Even horses that are often allowed to graze need some sort of electrolyte supplement, such as our Apple-a-Day™ or Orange-a-Day™, as grass and hay are naturally very low in salt content. In addition, after a long day of work, use our Electrocharge™ rapid recovery electrolyte paste to replenish all the major electrolytes, including potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, manganese, copper, zinc and cobalt.
Electrocharge™ is formulated for rapid absorption and replaces electrolytes in the same proportion as lost through sweat!