Danger from Himalayan Salt - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 40 Old 08-05-2020, 12:00 PM Thread Starter
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Danger from Himalayan Salt

I was waiting to make sure I had the facts before I posted this. Still not sure if Himalayan salt caused her horse to die, but it seems likely.

My sweet neighbor got herself a wonderful gelding. He was everything she wanted in a riding horse. But he kept having chronic diarrhea. She called the vet, changed feeds several times, bought $1000 worth of hay because they would only deliver if she took that much. The vet tried several antibiotics and numerous other attempts. We're not talking little runny stools, we're talking explosive wet blasts, scalded buttocks and hind legs, raw sores. Her bills totaled $6000 before she finally gave up and allowed the vet to euthanize her horse. It broke her heart and brings me to tears whenever I think about it.

BECAUSE . . . when she finally got a new horse, it also got chronic diarrhea which nothing would help, same darn thing! The vet was stymied. One wretched night, my neighbor and her son were sitting at the table trying to figure out what might be the common denominator between the two horses. Both were completely healthy when purchased. Both quickly came down with diarrhea upon arriving at her place. Her yearling Gypsy Vanner had no problems ever.

What they finally came up with was Himalayan salt. My neighbor gives her animals nothing but the best, and people told her that horses do best with Himalayan salt. She noticed that her Gypsy Vanner rarely licked the salt, but her riding horse devoured it. And her new horse was loving it.

She and her son researched Himalayan salt and discovered it is highly toxic, loaded with arsenic, lead, thallium, and mercury. If ingested in larger quantities it causes . . . you guessed it . . . bad diarrhea. My kind sweet thoughtful caring loving friend actually killed her beloved horse. Of course, she had no idea. Even the vet, who charged her several thousand dollars before they were done, had no idea. I had no idea. (I don't buy Himalayan salt because it is pricey and I am cheap).

So I am passing this word on to other horse owners. I was intensely curious and googled Himalayan salt for horses and discovered NOTHING about its dangers on any website. All the sites I found about Himalayan salt and horses said how wonderful it was, how horses love to lick it because it does not abrade their tongues like block salt will.

Then I googled for humans, and there was site after site about the dangers of ingesting too much Himalayan salt. Ditto for dog and cat websites. And every one of them said it causes diarrhea. And ultimately, death. My friend had a wonderful amazing fun horse that died because she thought she was taking the best care of him that she could. Even the vet didn't know. So, now we do. From one website:

"The list includes many poisons like mercury, arsenic, lead, and thallium. Himalayan salt ingredients also include radioactive elements: radium, uranium, polonium, plutonium, and many others.”

The happy (sort of bittersweet, really) ending is that her new horse is now thriving, no diarrhea at all, and riding great. I hope this discovery helps someone else save their horse.

Last edited by horselovinguy; 08-05-2020 at 12:07 PM.
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post #2 of 40 Old 08-05-2020, 12:06 PM
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Wow, good detective work on you and your neighbors part. Thank you for sharing the info! Makes me glad I'm cheap too and stick with the plain old salt and mineral blocks.

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post #3 of 40 Old 08-05-2020, 12:12 PM
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Thank you for sharing ...
Such sadness when she only meant for them to have the best..

I will make sure my friends know do not use Himalayan salt for any of their animals, dog, cat or our beloved horses along with just livestock in general.

The worst day is instantly better when shared with my horse.....

Last edited by horselovinguy; 08-05-2020 at 12:25 PM.
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post #4 of 40 Old 08-05-2020, 12:16 PM
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Thank you for sharing. So very sorry about your friends horse dieing. Glad it got figured out what was causing the diarrhea,so it can be prevented.

By sharing this it can keep other horse owners from this horrible tragedy.
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post #5 of 40 Old 08-05-2020, 12:25 PM
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Although those toxins may be in Himalayan salt, there is a thing called salt toxicosis that can happen when too much salt is consumed, any kind of salt. Even though horses rarely get too much salt, I guess it can happen if the horse loves to eat it. The symptoms are the same as what you describe.

I have left Himalayan salt blocks for my horses and they had no issue with it. They didn't devour it either. I have gotten a little cheaper as well and just give them a tablespoon of non iodized table salt with their supplements. It does have a non caking agent in it that I guess is not that great for them. I suppose, ideally, sea salt might be better.

They do need salt though. Especially if they are grazing fresh grass as the grass has plenty of potassium but literally no salt as the plant doesn't need that and doesn't care that horses do.

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post #6 of 40 Old 08-05-2020, 01:11 PM
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Very interesting.
I've given my two horses Himalayan salt licks for 7 or 8 years and never once did they have any issues. Heck I myself have only used Himalayan or sea salt for years and again never had any issues or ill effects from it.
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post #7 of 40 Old 08-05-2020, 01:27 PM
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Very surprised to read this. I have converted my horses to a no grain feed regimen which includes free choice Himalayan or Redmond’s salt and they have thrived on it. My gelding suffers from free fecal water and it has almost completely resolved after switching over. Weird how different things affect different horses...just like people I guess.

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post #8 of 40 Old 08-05-2020, 06:12 PM
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Wow! My daughter used to always lick the Himalayan salt rocks I bought for the horses... & Had unexplained nausea chronically - after many tests, she was 'diagnosed' with 'abdominal migraines' which, after looking into that, is the docs way of labling 'mystery gut probs'. But it went away when I started us all on low carb/no wheat prods... Which, come to think of it, coincided with me switching horses(& us) to unrefined sea salt. Just because it's a healthier alternative with a good balance of mins, including high magnesium & iodine content. We didn't stick to the low carb but she is fine these days.

Is hymalayan salt from one specific place, or are there many mines/areas it comes from? I imagine esp if from different areas, some is higher than others in different minerals.
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post #9 of 40 Old 08-05-2020, 06:30 PM
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They are all mined from the same area but depending on where you are at in the area there can be minor differences. It is mostly NaCl (96-99%)with trace amounts of other mind. The problem is not all of it is food grade because there are some locations that have contaminants. I suspect if you aren't careful about your source or if you have an animal that eats large amounts and does not have sufficient water FOR THE AMOUNT THEY ARE EATING then toxic conditions arise. I'm not saying they are not getting sufficient water but not enough to clear the salt. A normal horse will drink 5 to 10 gallons a day. Mine in summer with salt added drink closer to 25.

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post #10 of 40 Old 08-05-2020, 06:45 PM
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I had bought the Himalayan salt blocks my horses wouldn't touch them. Just like the red mineral salt blocks, horses won't touch them either.

Think the Himalayan salt a bit pricey for what it is.
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