Renal tubular acidosis in horses (1980-1999)

Monica R Aleman, Bruce Kuesis, Harold C. Schott, Gary Carlson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Renal tubular acidosis (RTA) is characterized by altered renal tubular function resulting in hyperchloremic metabolic acidosis. The purpose of the study was to describe RTA in 16 horses. No breed or sex predilection was found. The mean age at onset of the disease was 7 years of age. The type of diet had no apparent effect on development of RTA. The most common clinical signs were depression, poor performance, weight loss, and anorexia. Initial blood work revealed a marked hyperchloremic metabolic acidosis in all horses and a compensatory respiratory response in most horses. Sixty-three percent (10/16) of the horses had some evidence of renal damage or disease. Initial treatment consisted of large amounts of sodium bicarbonate given intravenously and orally for the prompt correction of the acidosis. Response to treatment was largely dependent on the rate of sodium bicarbonate administration. Long-term oral supplementation with NaHCO3 was required for the maintenance of normal acid-base status in individual horses. Recurrence of RTA was noted in 56% (9/16) of the horses. Horses with evidence of renal disease had multiple relapses. RTA should be considered as a differential diagnosis in horses with vague signs of depression, weight loss, and anorexia. The pathogenesis of RTA in horses remains uncertain, but prompt recognition and early aggressive intravenous sodium bicarbonate therapy followed by long-term oral supplementation seem to be important to successful management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)136-143
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2001


  • Hyperchloremic metabolic acidosis
  • Renal disease
  • Sodium bicarbonate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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