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Phosphorus excretion by mares post-lactation.

  • Fowler, Ashley L1
  • Pyles, Morgan B1
  • Hayes, Susan H1
  • Crum, Andrea D1
  • Lawrence, Laurie M1
  • 1 Department of Animal and Food Sciences, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky.
Published Article
Journal of animal physiology and animal nutrition
Publication Date
Nov 13, 2019
DOI: 10.1111/jpn.13251
PMID: 31721308


Across the equine literature, estimates of true P digestibility range from -23% to 79%. This large range cannot be explained by differences in P intake or phytate-P intake alone. However, differences in endogenous P secretion into the GI tract may explain the variation. In horses, excess absorbed P is not excreted in the urine but is re-secreted into the GI tract, increasing faecal P and leading to estimates of low P digestibility. Thus, accurate estimates of P digestibility can only be obtained if absorbed P is retained in the horse. The objective of this study was to examine P digestibility in post-lactational mares and control mares that were fed similar amounts of P. It was hypothesized that post-lactational mares would have greater P retention and higher apparent P digestibility than control mares. Prior to the study, four lactating and four non-lactating mares were fed a diet that provided 100% of the control mares' P requirement, but only 55% of the lactating mares' P requirement. During the study, both groups were fed P at the rate recommended for non-lactating mares. Post-lactational mares did not retain more P than control mares but tended to excrete more P than control mares (p = .082), presumably due to differences in endogenous P secretion into the GI tract. Metabolic changes occurring during mammary gland involution may have contributed to the increase in P excretion. However, faecal P excretion exceeded P intake in both groups (p = .08) and both groups lost weight during the study. Tissue mobilization during weight loss may have influenced P secretion into the GI tract. © 2019 Blackwell Verlag GmbH.

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