The Effect of Hydration Hay on Hydration Status, Water Intake, Packed Cell Volume, Total Protein, and Blood Glucose Concentrations of Horses Transported Long Distances During Summer Conditions


Hannah Graham

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Ag Science and Natural Resources

Date of Award

Spring 2014


Dehydration of horses during long-distance transportation is a concern for many equine professionals and enthusiasts. Hydration Hay?? (HH, Purina Animal Nutrition LLC) is a compressed block of hay that expands to yield a high-moisture feed when soaked in water. The objective of this experiment was to determine the effects of offering HH on hydration status of horses hauled long-distances. Ten mature horses were adapted to a diet of bermudagrass hay 2 weeks prior to the experiment. Horses were stratified by gender, age, and breed, and randomly assigned to treatments: CON (no dietary change), or HH. Horses were loaded onto a commercial trailer and transported 721 km (Haul 1). Blood was collected and vitals measured prior to, at midpoint of, and at completion of the haul. Bodyweights were measured prior to and at completion of the haul. Blood measurements included blood glucose (BG), total protein (TP), and packed cell volume (PCV). Vital signs included heart rate (HR), respiration rate (RR), and rectal temperature (RT). One week later, treatments reversed and the experiment was repeated. Horses were transported 695 km during Haul 2. Voluntary water intake (VWI), total water intake (TWI), and dry matter intake (DMI) were measured throughout the study. Data were analyzed using the MIXED procedure of SAS. Treatment did not affect (P ≥ 0.18) BG, TP, HR, RT, or DMI. Treatment did affect (P ≤ 0.02) RR, PCV, VWI, TWI, and %BWC. There was an effect (P ≤ 0.01) of time for all samples collected. There was an interaction of treatment ×time (P ≤ 0.02) for RR, VWI, and DMI. There was an interaction of treatment × haul (P ≤0.03) for RT. There was an interaction of haul × treatment × time (P = 0.01) for DMI. Offering horses HH during long distance transportation during the summer months decreased RR, PCV, and RT during long high temperature transit. Offering this product also resulted in greater TWI without affecting DMI. Offering horses HH reduced BW losses during long distance transportation compared to control horses. Offering HH improved hydration status of horses transported long distances.


Jackie Wahrmund

Subject Categories

Agriculture | Life Sciences