Signs Of Salt Deficiency In Horses

Salt is one of the foundations of life itself and horses don’t lick enough from salt licks to meet their daily requirements.

Make sure your horse gets their quota of at least 2 heaped tablespoons in a daily feed and by all means have a salt lick available as well.  More salt is required if the horse is in hard work.

A horse loses approximately 20 grams of salt per day just at rest in the paddock.  If it is a hot day or during a workout your horse is losing more!

The salt to give your horse is Sodium Chloride (Iodised table salt), not Epsom sales which is Magnesium Sulphate.

Make sure your horse has 24/7 access to clean fresh water.  Adding salt to the diet should make your horse want to drink more.

Signs of salt deficiency include the following:

  • Loss of appetite, weight loss, no top-line

  • Dry, staring hair-coat

  • Chewing wood, tails, licking your hands

  • Chomping through salt licks

  • Having absolutely ‘no go’

  • Excessive yawning

  • Sweating with little exertion

  • Sweating in odd places (on top of the neck or rump)

  • ‘Stiff’, short movement (often precedes laminitis)

  • Showing inflammation of muscles in Thermograph pictures (polymyositis)

  • Saddle-fitting problems (because of above)

  • Getting the shakes

  • Being prone to laminitis & head-flicking

  • Reproductive problems

  • Retarded growth and bone development

  • Standing base wide

  • Wobbly especially in the hind-quarters

  • Difficulty backing up

  • Difficulty walking downhill

  • Apathy

  • Head-ache

  • Abdominal bloating

  • Allergies (salt is an excellent anti-histamine)

  • Staggering