Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Importance of Sodium and Chloride

Near the end, Myrna was suddenly low on sodium and chloride due to chronic diarrhea, and the vomiting that would occur from time to time for whatever number of reasons. In July, it became so chronic that she couldn't hold anything down. When her blood work showed she was low on sodium-and I read that being low on sodium can contribute TO vomiting and diarrhea-I gave her some salt in the food I was feeding her by mouth. This improved her condition within a couple of hours. 

While HCM cats do not need added sodium, in this rare instance it was what she needed. But why? Here's a website called Pet Education. Com to tell you why. I've referred to this site before. It's a really good, basic site. Bookmark it and search for additional information. "Sodium and chloride help maintain the balance between fluids inside and outside individual cells of the body...Sodium aids in the transfer of nutrients to cells and the removal of waste products. Chloride helps maintain the proper acid/alkali balance in the body. Chloride is also necessary for the production of hydrochloric acid (HCl) in the stomach which helps in the digestion of protein..."

For more information, read this website: "In addition to its functions as an electrolyte, chloride combines with hydrogen in the stomach to make hydrochloric acid, a powerful digestive enzyme that is responsible for the break down of proteins, absorption of other metallic minerals, and activation of intrinsic factor, which in turn absorbs vitamin B12. Chloride is specially transported into the gastric lumen, in exchange for another negatively charged electrolyte (bicarbonate), in order to maintain electrical neutrality across the stomach membrane. After utilization in hydrochloric acid, some chloride is reabsorbed by the intestine, back into the blood stream where it is required for maintenance of extracellular fluid volume. Chloride is both actively and passively absorbed by the body, depending on the current metabolic demands.  A constant exchange of chloride and bicarbonate, between red blood cells and the plasma helps to govern the pH balance and transport of carbon dioxide, a waste product of respiration, from the body. With sodium and potassium, chloride works in the nervous system to aid in the transport of electrical impulses throughout the body, as movement of negatively charged chloride into the cell propagates the nervous electrical potential."

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