Changes in blood gases and electrolytes of horses given varying doses of sodium bicarbonate

K. H. Kline, J. H. Foreman, C. M. Hanson, L. P. Frey

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Eight Quarter Horse mares, ranging in age from 5-15 years were used in a 4-week Latin-Square design experiment in which pairs of horses were given 0, 333, 666, or 1000 mg/Kg body weight of sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) via nasogastric tube once weekly. Blood samples were drawn immediately before nasogastric intubation and then in one-hour increments for eight hours and once again at twenty-six hours after intubation. Blood pH, HCO3-, PCO2, and PO2 and the serum electrolytes, Na+, K+, Cl- and Ca++ were determined. Each treatment with NaHCO3 produced an increase (p<.01) in pH and HCO3- within two hours post-intubation, and an increase (p<.01) in PCO2 within four hours. Peak mean values for pH, HCO3-, and PCO2 were reached between four and six hours after intubation for all NaHCO3 treatments and remained elevated through eight hours after intubation. Serum Na+ was elevated (p<.01) and serum K+ and Cl- were reduced (p<.01) following NaHCO3 administration. All blood gas and serum electrolyte changes were found to return to near baseline levels by 26 hours after intubation. The fact that peak mean pH and HCO3- values were not reached until up to four hours after NaHCO3 administration is important to consider when developing regulations for pre-race blood gas testing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)487-491
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Equine Veterinary Science
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1995


  • Blood pH
  • Serum Electrolytes
  • Sodium Bicarbonate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Equine


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