Ask the Vet – Magnesium for horses

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SARAH: “What would be the
reasons to give a magnesium supplement to your horse? Will it really help a
horse be less spooky”– seems like she’s heard
of one of the reasons– “and how much magnesium
should a horse be getting on a daily basis?” That was a fun question. DR LYDIA GRAY: So magnesium
is one of the supplements that I give my horse. And the reason I give
it is for muscle. I think the ratio is– about 60%
of the body’s magnesium amount that you have is in bone
and 30% is in muscle. And we know that– I mean, magnesium has a
ton of uses in the body. One of them is excitable
tissue like muscle and nerves, it’s needed for them
to function and work, so to contract
and send impulses. So muscle would be one of them. Because he has PSSM
and shivers and so on, so like anything I can do to
help his muscles is great. And then yeah, I think calming. She’s figured out that a lot
of people, maybe the majority of people, give it for calming. SARAH: I mean you did
say excitable tissues. DR LYDIA GRAY: Yeah, yeah. And so in the NRC, which is the
Nutrient Requirement of Horses by the National
Research Council, they talk about when you
are deficient in magnesium, you can see irritability
and hypersensitivity, overreactivity. So some nervous system changes,
some behavioral changes. One reference actually said that
there are behavior and memory alterations when there is
a magnesium deficiency. So I hope that gets
explored more in depth. That’s really interesting. So I think it’s
important to understand that magnesium is not
an ingredient that calms your horse. It fills a gap, a deficiency,
and then restores your horse to normal what he should be. That’s how magnesium works. So you can’t give
more and more and more and get a sedating effect. That is not how it works. And that segues– I segued myself right
into the amount. And for the horse standing
in the pasture, like blinking and breathing and pooping,
they need about 7 and 1/2 grams of magnesium a day. And that can go all the
way up through the levels to the horses in heavy work,
it’s doubled to about 15 grams, with some increase
for pregnancy, lactation, and
young and growing. But really, it’s the
work that increases it. And it might be for the muscular
effort, but also the bone. The more you work, the more
your bone has to build and grow to sustain that effort. And 60% of magnesium is in
the bone, so there it goes. Oh, I didn’t say that
metabolism is the other one. SARAH: Oh, you did not. DR LYDIA GRAY: I did not. People give magnesium,
too, because it ensures that the proper insulin– it ensures the cells have the
correct level of sensitivity to insulin. And so the insulin and
glucose or blood sugar can interact properly. So it has a role there, too. And so people give it for
horses with metabolic problems and that. Yeah, I think that’s
probably the third one. SARAH: And so again, another
instance where it’s helping return to a normal state. DR LYDIA GRAY: Exactly. SARAH: A normal function. And not having some altering
effect on your horse. DR LYDIA GRAY: Not
making anything really better than it’s
supposed to be naturally. SARAH: Right. Yeah.

 

4 Responses

  1. Tillze Pe

    August 14, 2018 5:05 pm

    #askthevet my miniature horse constantly has eye boogies (really long strands of mucus stuff🤢)and I’m not sure how to stop it

    Reply
  2. Sliding4ever

    August 14, 2018 10:32 pm

    If a horse has a torn meniscus ligament and makes a full recovery, will she be more prone to retearing it? #askthevet

    Reply

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