Chloride (Cl)


Chloride is an electrolyte and represents the main anion for regulating the acid-base balance and the extra cellular osmotic power. Chloride is also stored in the large intestine.

Electrolytes and their roles

  • Stimulation of thirst (rehydration/renal function)
  • Regulation of nerve impulses (balance of electrical charges)
  • Regulation of muscular contraction/relaxation cycles (lack of electrolytes =>myopathy)
  • Involvement in blood coagulation

Pay attention, a single excessive dose may induce stomach ulcers.

A lack of muscle relaxation can be induced by a hydro-electrical unbalance.

Chloride (Cl)

Electrolytes and rehydration

Electrolytes loss in sweat in the healthy adult horse is essentially linked to the work load, temperature and humidity.

In extreme conditions a horse may lose up to 12 litres of sweat per hour. (Weigh your horse before and after effort!)

Sweat composition

  • Sodium (3.1 g/l)
  • Chloride (5.3 g/l)
  • Potassium (1.6 g/l)
  • plus calcium, magnesium, phosphate,…

Feed can compensate for some electrolytes losses

  • Forage is rich in electrolytes
  • A salt block furnishes an average of 10 g of salt per day (just enough to cover the  needs for a horse at rest)
  • Additional electrolytes must be given after heavy exercise or in hot conditions.