Samples of blood and urine were taken from 334 dairy cows in 29 herds, and the concentrations of sodium and potassium were measured in the serum and urine. The herds were split into five groups according to the amount of supplementary salt they were given: three groups given 10 to 20, 30 to 50 or 70 to 100 g salt per day, and two groups fed an ad libitum supply, given either in bowls or in the form of salt blocks, which were replaced either regularly or irregularly. The groups which received 70 to 100 g of salt daily or were supplied regularly ad libitum had significantly higher urinary sodium concentrations than the other groups. The group receiving 10 to 20 g a day had a significantly higher ratio of potassium:sodium in their urine than all the other groups, in which the ratio decreased as the level of supplementary salt increased. There were wider differences between the groups in terms of the urinary potassium:sodium ratio than in terms of the urinary sodium concentration but less variability within each group.
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