The Veterinary clinics of North America. Equine practice2011; 27(1); 149-163; doi: 10.1016/j.cveq.2010.12.009

Magnesium disorders in horses.

Abstract: Magnesium (Mg) is an essential macroelement that is required for cellular energy-dependent reactions involving adenosine triphosphate and for the regulation of calcium channel function. Subclinical hypomagnesemia is common in critically ill humans and animals and increases the severity of the systemic inflammatory response syndrome; worsens the systemic response to endotoxins; and can lead to ileus, cardiac arrhythmias, refractory hypokalemia, and hypocalcemia. This article discusses the clinical signs, consequences, and treatment of hypomagnesemia in horses and describes the association of Mg and endotoxemia, insulin resistance, and brain injury.
Publication Date: 2011-03-12 PubMed ID: 21392659DOI: 10.1016/j.cveq.2010.12.009Google Scholar: Lookup
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The research article discusses the role of magnesium in horses, the effects of magnesium deficiency, and its association with other health issues like endotoxemia, insulin resistance, and brain injury.

Magnesium’s Role in Horses

The researchers first describe the importance of magnesium (Mg), a vital macroelement, for achieving cellular energy-dependent reactions in horses. It serves two key functions:

  • Facilitates operations involving adenosine triphosphate, a vital energy-carrying molecule.
  • Regulates calcium channel functionality, crucial for various physiological functions.
  • Magnesium Deficiency (Hypomagnesemia)

    The authors highlight that horses, like humans and other animals, can suffer from subclinical hypomagnesemia, a condition of magnesium deficiency that:

  • Is common in critically ill subjects.
  • Intensifies the severity of the systemic inflammatory response syndrome – an inflammatory state affecting the whole body.
  • Complicates the systemic response to endotoxins, toxic substances that arise when bacteria disintegrates.
  • Consequences of Hypomagnesemia

    Further, they discuss the potential consequences of hypomagnesemia in horses:

  • Ileus, a disruption in the functioning of the intestines.
  • Cardiac arrhythmias, heart rhythm problems.
  • Refractory hypokalemia, a condition characterized by persistently low potassium levels in the blood.
  • Hypocalcemia, a state of calcium deficiency in the bloodstream.
  • Association of Magnesium with Other Health Issues

    In the last section of their research, they link magnesium with other health problems in horses.

  • Endotoxemia, a condition in which endotoxins are present in the blood, typically caused by bacteria.
  • Insulin resistance, a condition in which cells fail to respond properly to the hormone insulin.
  • Brain injury, implying that magnesium could play a major role in brain health and that hypomagnesemia might impact cognitive and neurological functions in horses.
  • Cite This Article

    Stewart AJ. (2011). Magnesium disorders in horses. Vet Clin North Am Equine Pract, 27(1), 149-163.


    ISSN: 1558-4224
    NlmUniqueID: 8511904
    Country: United States
    Language: English
    Volume: 27
    Issue: 1
    Pages: 149-163

    Researcher Affiliations

    Stewart, Allison J
    • Department of Clinical Science, John Thomas Vaughan Large Animal Teaching Hospital, College of Veterinary Medicine, Auburn University, 1500 Wire Road, Auburn, AL 36849, USA.

    MeSH Terms

    • Animals
    • Calcium / blood
    • Endotoxemia / veterinary
    • Female
    • Horse Diseases / diagnosis
    • Horse Diseases / drug therapy
    • Horse Diseases / metabolism
    • Horses
    • Insulin Resistance
    • Magnesium / administration & dosage
    • Magnesium / metabolism
    • Magnesium / therapeutic use
    • Magnesium Deficiency / diagnosis
    • Magnesium Deficiency / drug therapy
    • Magnesium Deficiency / metabolism
    • Magnesium Deficiency / veterinary
    • Male
    • Nutritional Requirements
    • Parathyroid Hormone / blood


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