Abstract 

The blood of the racehorse has a very delicate acid and base balance.  Following exercise muscle cells and blood become acidic (an excess of H+ ions) particularly during sprint work or maximum exertion.  Optimum performance demands that this balance be maintained within the critical limit of 7.42-7.45. A blood pH below 7.40 indicates acidosis or lowered alkali reserve causing muscle fatigue, mental irritability, poor performance and muscle soreness.

Blood pH

The blood of the racehorse has a very delicate acid and base balance.  Following exercise muscle cells and blood become acidic (an excess of H+ ions) particularly during sprint work or maximum exertion.  Optimum performance demands that this balance be maintained within the critical limit of 7.42-7.45. A blood pH below 7.40 indicates acidosis or lowered alkali reserve causing muscle fatigue, mental irritability, poor performance and muscle soreness.

In 1986, a ground breaking study on the precise effects of work and climate on the body chemistry of the racehorse was conducted at Randwick racecourse by Ranvet founder Dr Percy Sykes.  A total of 1379 horses were involved in the study, one of the most comprehensive studies ever conducted in Australia.

A summary of the blood pH findings are outlined below;

  • The analysis from 1379 bloods taken from horses in full work at Randwick established a dramatic drop in drop in base excess (acidosis) following fast work and confirmed the need for an alkali reserve replacer such as Neutrolene or Neutrolene PLUS.
  • The recovery rates of horses was faster in Winter than any other month.
fastwork-summer
*Blood pH below 7.40 indicates acidosis

A thorough ‘cooling down’ exercise following fast work will aid the removal of lactic acid from the blood.

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‘Lowered akali reserve’ (increase in body acid) predispose a horse to muscle fatigue and mental irritability’

  • During Summer in Sydney, the horses’ blood would become acidic in the early afternoon (approximately 2.00pm) due to the heat and humidity, as seen the graph below.   Therefore particularly in hotter months, it is highly beneficial to aid recovery and administer 45ml of Neutrolene or Neutrolene PLUS in morning and in the afternoon to combat the negative effects of the heat and humidity.
fastwork-winter
*Blood pH below 7.40 indicates acidosis
  • Adjustments to training techniques should take into the effects of the climate on the horses body and acid/base balance.

Neutrolene and Neutrolene PLUS (body acid neutralisers) reduces excess lactic acid, restores lost sodium (alkali) and balances both tissue, and blood pH for maximum performance.

To enable your horses to recover faster and perform at its best, administration of Neutrolene or Neutrolene PLUS is advised following fast/hard work and in the early afternoon during hotter humid months.

Ranvet recommendations;

45ml Neutrolene or Neutrolene PLUS morning and afternoon 90ml total.