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Beta-Cel: Frequently Asked Questions

Why choose Beta-Cel?

Common greyhound diets may not contain sufficient electrolytes (body salts) to meet the needs of racing greyhounds. Travelling, training and panting deplete electrolytes each day, particularly during the hotter months.

Beta-Cel® prevents electrolyte deficiencies that may lead to dehydration, cramping, poor performance and nervousness.

 

Why do greyhounds require electrolytes specially designed for dogs?

Dogs, unlike horses sweat very little and instead pant to cool. Animals that sweat to cool require supplements that are high in sodium to replace the salts lost in sweat, whereas animals like dogs that pant require supplements that are high in potassium. Beta-Cel® is specially designed for greyhounds and contains potassium salts to replace those lost during panting.

Can an electrolyte aid in the prevention of cramp?

Yes, a product such as Beta-Cel® contains potassium for nerve and muscle contraction, chloride for kidney function, lactate and citrate as a buffer against acidosis in the muscle and blood and calcium which is essential for muscle contraction.

For greyhounds lactate and citrate act as more effective buffers against acidosis in the muscles and blood than bicarbonates which are found in electrolytes for horses. Bicarbonate when fed to dogs is excreted and increases the amount of potassium that is loss through the kidneys.
 

What is the role of glucose in greyhound performance?

Glucose is present in greyhound electrolyte supplements to provide energy, and assist with the uptake of potassium. A very complex system involving insulin acts to keep the greyhound’s blood glucose at a constant level. Giving any supplement which is high in glucose may stimulate the release of excessive Insulin. This is a natural hormone which stimulates cells to store glucose, thus decreasing blood glucose levels. This causes a reflex hypoglycemia where the blood glucose levels can become too low for a period of time.

Signs of low blood glucose (hypoglycemia) include:

  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Behavioral changes

To maintain a constant blood glucose level in greyhounds:

  • Avoid giving supplements with high glucose content prior to racing
  • If possible, avoid giving supplements with high glucose content on a regular basis

What is an electrolyte?

Electrolytes are body salts – that is: minerals dissolved in, and circulating in, body fluids. When dissolved, electrolytes take on an electrical charge to act as “ions”. Electrolytes are essential for performance dogs, particularly in the warmer months of the year. The increased level of panting needed to keep body temperature down depletes fluid and salt from the body. Due to the added stresses placed on dogs by regular training, racing, travelling, and barking, it is often difficult for them to obtain sufficient electrolytes from the feed alone, so supplementation is required. Without adequate supplementation of the important electrolytes potassium, sodium, chloride and magnesium, problems such as dehydration, loss of performance and muscle cramping may occur..

The mineral Sodium is the main extra-cellular ion – the main ion found outside cells. It regulates blood pressure. Both sodium and chloride are the main electrolytes in extracellular fluid. They do not become depleted following racing, as greyhounds do not sweat. These electrolytes are present in most greyhound electrolyte supplements in low concentrations. The mineral Potassium is the main intracellular ion – the main ion found inside cells. The electrostatic gradient (difference in electrical charge between the inside and the outside of cells) maintains the function of cells such as muscle and nerve cells Electrolytes are normally lost in sweat (in humans and horses, not in greyhounds), urine and faeces. Electrolyte balance is strictly regulated by dietary intake, kidney function, cell metabolism and fluid balance.