Boer goats physiology adaptation to saline drinking water
To examine the adaptive physiological responses to increasing salinity of drinking water in a choice situation, twelve female non-lactating Boer goats were used. After a control period with fresh water, in phase 2 the choice between different salt concentrations (0.25, 0.5, 0.75, 1.0, 1.25 and 1.5% NaCl) and tap water was offered for two weeks. Subsequently, goats were stepwise habituated to saline water by only offering the choice between salted water with different increasing concentrations (up to 1.5% NaCl) for four weeks. In phase 4 the procedure of phase 2 was repeated. BW was not affected by saline water intake, whereas BCS decreased. Total water intakes differed between ages (P < .001), and increased (P < .001) from 91.6 to 118.0 g/kg BW0.82/day and from 105.5 to 142.9 g/kg BW0.82/day in young and old goats in phase 3, respectively. In adult goats, rumen temperature decreased (P < .05) with prolonged saline water intake, while it remained unaffected in young goats. Increasing consumption of saline water decreased plasma concentrations of magnesium (from 0.95 to a minimum of 0.80 mmol/L in phase 3, P < .001). Creatinine increased from 82.92 to 93.39 μmol/L in the post-trial period 4 (P < .02) and potassium concentration increased from phase 2 (P < .001). ALT, AST, glucose, urea, calcium, sodium, osmolality were unaffected. All measured blood parameters remained within reference ranges, indicating that the stepwise adaptation to saline drinking water applying concentrations up to 1.5% across 4 weeks caused no harmful effects. Young animals were less resistant to salt toxicity compared to older ones.