This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Fluids and electrolytes will be administered intravenously in order to prevent dehydration, and if the underlying disorder is making it difficult to breathe as well, oxygen will usually be offered. If the body doesn’t have adequate calcium, the following issues may arise: • Muscle cramps • Numbness in the arms or legs • Porous or fragile bones (most often in the horse’s jaw – you may see loose teeth as a result) • Joint pain • Tooth decay • Nervousness • … Calcium keeps horses calmer and free moving and may extend their working life and is an important supplement for pregnant and lactating mares. Wheat bran, however, is not the only culprit, and there are other foodstuffs available to horses that limit the amount of calcium that can be absorbed from the diet. In this case, an additional 17 g of magnesium is required to achieve an optimal balanced 2:1 ratio of calcium to magnesium.. They are, however, somewhat non-specific and further testing is required for a definitive diagnosis: Cardiac abnormalities Depression Increased thirst Increased urination Leg stiffness Loss of appetite Muscle weakness Poor performance Weight loss Considering the detrimental effect on bone development that a deficiency of these two minerals can have, every horse owner should investigate where their horse’s diet is at in regards to them. If there is not enough calcium available, the body will remove calcium from the bones, joints, and muscles. Too much calcium depletes magnesium so feeding large amounts of calcium laden forage does not make much sense. When muscle fibres need to contract for action, adrenaline is released to temporarily remove the magnesium gatekeeper from calcium channels. The body pH of the horse (or any mammal including us) is supposed to be 7.365 (slightly alkaline). For nervous horses, it's often found in combination with thiamine (vitamin B1), as a deficiency in thiamine can also cause a jittery horse. Several factors can cause the calcium test to be inaccurate, however, and these should be taken into account. Feeding too much of one will cause a deficiency of the other. Women after menopause are also prone to low calcium levels. Cereal grains contain only about twice as much phosphorus as needed for maintenance and less than that needed for rapid growth, but they contain only 7 to 35% as much calcium as needed. Absorption - Most calcium absorption occurs in the ileum, the last and longest portion of the intestines; unlike most mammals, the intestinal absorption of calcium is mostly independent of vitamin D intake, Release from the bone - Calcium and phosphate are contained within the bones, and are released from the bone by stimulation from parathyroid hormone. A mature, 500 kg horse that is not working, pregnant or lactating requires approximately 20 grams of calcium and 14 grams of phosphorous per day. There are two types of urinary stones found in horses. Calcium has been fed as high as five times the horse’s requirement without any ill effects, provided that the P intake is adequate. Large amounts of soda, caffeine or alcohol can deplete calcium stores. 3. Alfalfa hay can play a role in the spelling or idle horse’s diet, and will provide these horses with good quality protein and calcium. Feeding once a week means the horse is subjected to highs and lows. Certainly the skeleton does account for 99% of the calcium in the horses’ body. Hypercalcemia, or an overabundance of calcium in the blood, can be an indicator of other conditions. Assume that only 50% of the magnesium from your hay is absorbed; therefore, only 14.6 grams of magnesium is provided by this hay. Women after menopause are also prone to low calcium levels. Excessive use of calcium carbonate, found in common … The most common way to reduce the amount of calcium absorbed by the intestines is to cut back the amount of calcium in the diet itself. It is now well known that as magnesium reserves drop lower, calcium deposits excessively in soft tissue, making ligaments and joints stiff. This is an approved health claim on the EU Register on nutrition and health claims p6 of 835. If you are using magnesium oxide which has a concentration of 60% magnesium, you would add 28g of magnesium oxide to the horse’s diet.. These four tiny glands are situated behind the thyroid gland. In fact, bones typically contain a whopping 35% calcium. Magnesium Deficiency Caused by Severe Drought Conditions, Magnesium Chloride Feeding Method for Horses, The Importance of Food Grade Magnesium Chloride Hexahydrate. But coping with excess protein taxes the kidneys and places a general strain on the horse's body. We would all agree with the statement that minerals need to be balanced. This is a rare condition in horses, but should be considered if other causes have been ruled out. Using a Horse Salt Block and Feed to Keep Minerals for Horses in Balance. The equine kidney is important in the excretion of calcium; therefore, impaired renal calcium excretion associated with normal intestinal calcium absorption may explain the hypercalcemia found in these horses. In order to understand why too much calcium is dangerous, be aware of … The alfalfa is making a 4:1 calcium to phosphorus ratio and I have read that senior horses can tolerate up to 3:1. Calcium should be higher, at least 2:1 or more to Magnesium. In a healthy system we should have a see-saw balancing action that can move quickly from one state to another as needed without getting ‘stuck’. For instance, certain anticoagulants can cause calcium levels appear to drop, particularly those containing citrate, EDTA, fluoride chelate calcium, or oxalate. Too much phosphorus in the diet actively inhibits the absorption of calcium by the horse's gut. The outcome will also be influenced by how advanced the condition is particularly with kidney degeneration or cancers. Am J Vet Res, 2007. Bones play an important role in mineral balance; storing a reserve of calcium and phosphorus at a ratio of approximately 2:1 within their matrix. As magnesium and calcium are antagonists, excessive calcium in horse feeds can suppress the activity of magnesium, leading to magnesium deficiency symptoms. An excellent supplement will contain chelated calcium plus the co-factors mentioned above. 500 mg horsetail per day for maintenance, and 1.5 to 4.5 grams/day for healing broken bones or soft tissue injury. Calcium and Leg Cramps. If the cause is an increase in vitamin D, the removal of the vitamin D from the diet should result in recovery, however, mineralization in the heart or kidneys worsens the prognosis. In general, supplementing a dog’s diet with too much calcium or phosphorus can increase its susceptibility to diseases to which it is genetically prone. If there is not enough calcium available, the body will remove calcium from the bones, joints, and muscles. You may need to consider adding another hay source to the daily ration. Other nutrients in the diet must also be fed in the proper ratio, such as calcium to phosphorus. You can tell is your horse is getting too much phosphorus by similar symptoms of being calcium deficient such as: weakened bones, lameness and low quality growth and performance. Acidosis is another condition known to interfere with a blood test involving calcium; although total levels of calcium will be accurate, the ionized calcium is increased due to a decrease in the amount of calcium that is bound to protein. Australian soils are commonly low in magnesium, magnesium salts being very water soluble and easily lost from surface soils. In this article we explain how to easily work out how much is too much. Certain foods such as feeds high in protein or calcium should be avoided, and salt will most likely be restricted as well. Grasses are therefore often high in sugars, but low in magnesium. It is recommended that you divide dosages of supplemental magnesium oxide over two meals per day to improve palatability. Hypercalcemia is a condition in which the calcium level in your blood is above normal. There are treatment methods that will help with reducing the calcium concentrations in the meantime. Adult horses need roughly twice as much calcium as phosphorus in their diet and young growing horses need about 1.5 to 2 times as much calcium as phosphate. The ideal ratio of dietary calcium to phosphorus (Ca:P) for horses is between 1:1 and 2:1. It is near his front right fetlock joint. Alfalfa Hay is also higher in Calcium, with about 3 times as much as Grass Hay. Twenty pounds provides 29.1 grams of magnesium (20 lb x 454 g/lb x .0032) and 64.5 grams of calcium (20 lbs x 454 g/lb x .0071). Magnesium is also needed in plentiful supply to keep the muscles and joints flexible and stretchy. Consider this example: Your hay contains 0.32% magnesium and 0.71% calcium. However, when too much calcium is consumed, it inhibits the body’s ability to absorb and utilize magnesium efficiently. The diagnosis of hypercalcemia is usually followed by additional testing in order to precisely determine the underlying condition. My 34 yr old mare is on a low sugar high fiber complete feed (TC Senior). 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