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Objective—To determine whether the composition of electrolyte pastes formulated for oral administration influences voluntary water intake (WI) by horses recovering from furosemide-induced dehydration.

Animals—6 horses.

Procedure—Voluntary WI, body weight, and blood and urine constituents were measured before and after induction of dehydration by furosemide administration and overnight withholding of water; these same variables also were measured during a 36-hour rehydration period. Each horse was evaluated 4 times with random application of 4 treatments (electrolyte pastes) that provided 0.5 g of KCl/kg of body weight, 0.5 g of NaCl/kg, 0.25 g of NaCl and 0.25 g of KCl/kg, or no electrolytes (control treatment). Electrolyte pastes were administered 3 times (4, 8, and 12 hours after start of the rehydration period).

Results—Administration of all electrolyte pastes resulted in significantly greater voluntarily WI, compared with the control treatment, and was accompanied by significantly greater recovery of body weight when NaCl was a component of the paste. Administration of NaCl and NaCl-KCl pastes tended to produce a state of transient hyperhydration; however, electrolyte administration also resulted in significantly greater urine production and electrolyte excretion during the final 24 hours of the rehydration period. Adverse effects of oral administration of hypertonic electrolyte pastes were not observed.

Conclusion and Clinical Relevance—Oral administration of electrolyte pastes to dehydrated horses increases voluntary WI and improves rehydration during the rehydration period. Rehydration is more rapid and complete when NaCl is a component of the electrolyte paste. (Am J Vet Res 2002;63:19–27)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research