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Water contains varied levels of minerals that can have an impact on Equine health (A comparison of mineral levels across Irish water samples and an investigation into potential harmful levels and influential factors)

Water contains varied levels of minerals that can have an impact on Equine health (A comparison of mineral levels across Irish water samples and an investigation into potential harmful levels and influential factors)

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An essay for the 2012 Undergraduate Awards Competition by Christine Cummins. Originally submitted for Agricultural Science at University College Dublin, with lecturer Dr. Emmeline Hill in the category of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences
An essay for the 2012 Undergraduate Awards Competition by Christine Cummins. Originally submitted for Agricultural Science at University College Dublin, with lecturer Dr. Emmeline Hill in the category of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences

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Published by: Undergraduate Awards on Aug 31, 2012
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10/27/2013

 
 
U.C.D.
Water Contains VariedLevels of Minerals That Can Have an Impact onEquine Health
A comparison of mineral levels across Irishwater samples and an investigation intopotential harmful levels and influential factors
Christine Cummins4/1/2012
Submitted to Dr. Emmeline Hill as partial fulfilment of the Equine Science Project module [ANSC40090].
 
Christine Cummins U.C.D. 083067961
TitleWater contains varied levels of minerals that can have an impact on Equine health(A comparison of mineral levels across Irish water samples and an investigation intopotential harmful levels and influential factors) Author Christine Cummins, Mr Vivian Gath, and Dr Emmeline Hill. Abstract
The most important and most overlooked nutrient in the horse’s diet is water. Though
it is recognised that minerals are a vital part of the correct functioning of the horsesbody, many aspects are also overlooked, especially the potential to have a harmfuleffect on their health. It is known that many minerals are found in water, but thevariance and harmful levels have not been investigated in substantial detail.Samples of water from four different regions across Ireland were collected and 14minerals in each sample were analysed. A questionnaire was distributed to theowners of the sample waters and the pH of each was recorded. Significantdifferences were found between samples (P=0.005), regions (P=0.02) and individualminerals across all samples (P=<0.0001). Elevated levels of iron, copper andmanganese were found (>100% of recommended levels in mg/L of water) in somesamples indicating the potential harmful effects they might have on the consumers of these supplies. The influence of each factor was analysed and significant influenceswere found with some minerals. The significant variability of mineral content betweendifferent drinking water and the adverse levels found displays the importance of testing water for minerals to avoid exposure of harmful levels to horses.IntroductionWater is essential to life, playing a vital role in the hydration and maintenance of fluidbalance in all compartments of the inner body. Total body water of a horse isestimated to be 62-68% of their body weight(National Research
 
Christine Cummins U.C.D. 083067962
Council[NRC],2007a).An adequate good quality supply is essential to maintain theworking function of the body(AAFC, 2010). A horse in a Temperate climate drinks anapproximate variable of 19-30L a day(Reeder 
et al 
., 2009), depending on severalfactors such as water content of feed, ambient temperature and water loss due tosweating. Water quality may have a detrimental impact on the palatability, thusintake may decrease significantly with low levels of palatability(AAFC, 2009). Many
people describe water as ‘flavourless’, but waters both natural and processed c
anhave adapted flavours due to minerals that are found originally in natural water andother processing factors (Dietrich, 2006). Though minerals contribute no energy and they make up animmensely minor part of the horses diet, their role is critical in numerous daily bodily functions(Briggs, 2007).They partake in functions such as physiological roles including formulation of structural components, acid-base balance, enzymatic co-factors, energy transfer andsome are also fundamental parts of amino acids, hormones and vitamins(NRC,2007a). There are approximately 22 known minerals contained in the horses body,most of which are thought to be essential for life while some are environmentalcontaminants. These include minerals such as arsenic, nickel, lead, and cadmium(Davies, 2009). All minerals, whether essential or non-essential have the potential toadversely affect health when they are present in large amounts(Verveurt andBergero,2010).The quality of water is most commonly associated with its chemicalcharacteristics(NRC, 2007b) though studies in association with horses in particular are not common. For livestock, suitability of water supplies can often be based ontheir TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) score which measures the aggregate compositionof the ions in the water. Unfortunately it does not list the specific ions present butinstead gives an overall score from <1000 which is safe, to 7000 which is notdeemed safe to drink for any animal(NRC, 2007b).Even though there are few studies done on water in terms of horse health, livestockwaters have been tested for their mineral status, which is where the estimatedrecommended figures for horses derive from(NRC, 2007b). In relation to humansthere have been investigations on the long-term impact of waters of variouscompositions on health and well-being(Pip, 2000). It has been stated that minerals

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