This study demonstrated that the feeding of treatment diets with calculated dietary cation-anion balances (DCAB) of +370.43 (H) and -25.69 (L) did not have significant effects on blood pH, pCO2, and HCO3-. Serum Ca2+, P, Na+, and Cl- as well as plasma PTH did not differ (P > .05) between the two treatment groups. Serum K+ was higher (P< .05) in horses fed diet H rather than diet L. The DCAB of the diet significantly affected urinary Ca2+, P, Na+, K+, and Cl- excretion in the young growing horse. Urine Ca2+ and Cl- levels were higher (P < .01) in horses fed diet H versus diet L. Furthermore, levels of P, Na+, and K+ in the urine were higher (P < .01) in horses on diet H as opposed to diet L. Results of this study indicate that horses were able to maintain acid-base status regardless of diet. However, these data imply that growing horses consuming diets low in DCAB may be predisposed to abnormal bone mineralization due to the increase in calcium excretion which could lead to a weakening of the skeletal system.
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