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The influence of calcium intake on phosphorus digestibility in mature ponies

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Literature data show conflicting results on the effect of feeding high calcium (Ca) levels on phosphorus (P) digestibility in ponies. None of the studies reported involved a dose response as to the effect of Ca intake on apparent P digestibility while keeping P intake constant. Thus, the influence of high dietary Ca level on apparent P digestibility was studied in balance trials by feeding six mature ponies three different Ca levels against a constant P intake. The ponies received 148, 316 and 535 mg Ca/kg BW/day with the low, intermediate and high Ca diet. Phosphorus intake was approximately 125 mg P/kg BW and magnesium (Mg) intake was approximately 35 mg Mg/kg BW/day. The intermediate and high Ca level decreased apparent digestibility, renal excretion and retention of P when compared with the low Ca level. However, apparent digestibility and renal excretion of P were not different between the intermediate and high Ca level. The high Ca level resulted in a retention of 66 mg Ca/kg BW/day. The percentage apparent digestibility of Ca was lower for the intermediate and high Ca level compared with the low Ca level. Magnesium digestibility was not affected by high dietary Ca level. In practice, high absolute amounts of Ca should be prevented especially when low amounts of P are fed; P digestibility will be depressed and a negative P balance may occur.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2004-12-01

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