Selectolyte FAQ

Selectolyte FAQ

Selectolyte is a balanced source of essential body salts in a special form to counteract the effects of dehydration in all livestock.

Please review the list of Frequently Asked Questions below. If you have further questions please feel free to contact our Sales Team.

Technical Questions

Selectolyte is a highly soluble alkaline free-flowing electrolyte powder containing high levels of the key dietary electrolytes Sodium (Na+) Potassium (K+), and Bicarbonate (HCO3-). Selectolyte feed additive replaces Sodium, Potassium and Bicarbonate in body fluids without adding unnecessary and unhelpful chloride.  

Active Ingredients:         

Sodium: 109,000 mg/kg
Potassium: 220,000 mg/kg
Bicarbonate: 285,000 mg/kg

Animals are two-thirds water and made of billions of cells filled with and surrounded by water. If the biochemical environment in and around these cells is not optimum, animals will not produce to their potential.

Electrolytes, specifically Sodium (Na), Potassium (K), Chloride (Cl-) and Bicarbonate (HCO3-) are critical to the healthy functioning of the body. They ensure the biochemical balance of the environment in the water and in and around the cell is maintained. This balance is known as the acid-base balance (pH).

If the acid-base balance is disturbed, animals lose their ability to regulate deep body temperature. This has a direct and immediate impact on a performance and potential mortality. 

Depletion of water and key electrolytes in and around the cell also creates dehydration, leading to performance loss and mortality.

Dietary Electrolyte Balance (DEB) represents the ratio between certain dietary electrolytes. It is an indication of the chemical ions that can consume or produce acid during metabolism. These have a direct effect on the acid-base balance (pH) of the blood which has important implications for performance and mortality.

Sodium (Na), Potassium (K) and Chloride (Cl-) are the electrolytes most commonly used for the calculation of DEB.

DEB is critical to ensure proper physiological function in livestock and has been shown to be of major importance for the performance of all livestock species. 

Mongin (1980) and many subsequent researchers have defined the place of electrolytes in nutrition.

All body systems are affected when Dietary Electrolyte Balance (DEB) is lost. The major effect of this is the development of a complex alienation of the body chemistry following a rise in the deep body temperature. Heat regulation capacity is reduced and in extreme cases hyperventilation (panting) can occur. The majority of the cooling mechanism in poultry is via evaporation in the lungs.

In hot and humid conditions, significant metabolic changes take place:

  • Acid-base balance is disturbed.
  • The production of enzyme function within cells is also disturbed.
  • Livestock reduce feed intake, which in turn reduces productivity.
  • Water consumption can increase, resulting in the loss of potassium (K), sodium (Na), bicarbonate (HCO3-) and chloride (Cl-) via increasing urine outputs.


Temperature and humidity are significant contributing factors to the maintenance of homeostasis factors.

When deep body temperature increases, respiration rate and water intake increases and the metabolic demand for electrolytes increases as they lose electrolytes.

Dietary electrolyte balance can best be determined by the relationship between Sodium (Na), Potassium (K) and Chloride (CI-)

Chloride (Cl-) plays an important role in both digestive (as composition of hydrochloric acid in gastric juice) and electrolyte metabolism.

When deep body temperature increases, this may cause a loss of carbon dioxide as a result of increased respiration. 

Chloride (Cl-) is acidotic. In conditions where the deep body temperature of an animal increases, dietary electrolyte balance is best maintained by ensuring a minimum of acidotic challenge.

When temperature increases its rate, this may cause a loss of carbon dioxide (CO2)

Carbon dioxide is derived from a biochemical reaction at the surface of the lung between metabolic carbonic acid and carbonic anhydrase.

The metabolic process leading up to this, results in the formation of carbonic acid (H₂CO₃), which is the result of a combination of hydrogen (H) and bicarbonate (HCO3-).

Livestock maintain acid-base balance by regulating bicarbonate (HCO3-) production. When deep body temperature increases, the requirement for bicarbonate (HCO3-) increases.

If the acid-balance is disturbed, an animal reduces its ability to control deep body temperature. In these conditions, it’s important to minimise the addition of acidotic compounds, such as chloride.

How is DEB calculated?

Dietary Electrolyte Balance (DEB) is measured in milli equivalents (mEq) of certain key electrolytes Na+ K+ Cl S.  

For instance – in temperate climates the optimal DEB feed value to maximise production in chickens and pigs is +250 mEq/kg of feed.

Table 1

Molecular Weight
Sodium (Na + )
Body Fluids (Extracellular)
Water Regulation
Acid:Base Balance
Potassium (K + )
Fluid within cells
Muscle Activity
Acid:Base Balance
Water Balance
Body Fluids
Acid:Base Balance
Water Balance
Nerve Impulses
In all locations to neutralise acid
Acid:Base Balance
K+ Cl HCO3
Na+ Cl HCO3

Inorganic Electrolytes are by far the most important in the distribution and retention of body water

Table 4

To calculatedietary mEq:(refer to Table 1)

  1. Convert the percentage of element to mg/KG ie multiply % by 10,000.
  2. Divide by molecular weight of element.
  3. Multiply by valance eg 1 for Na<sup>+</sup>, K<sup>-</sup> and Cl<sup>-<sup>.


Diet containes 0.2% sodium.
0.2x 10,000 = 2,000. Divide by MW(23) = 87
Multiply 87 x 1 (has positive value)

Safety & Suitability Questions

Selectolyte is recommended where hostile environmental conditions occur and thermal stress is likely responsible for major losses in animal production. It is a feed additive suitable for poultry, pigs, calves, dairy and beef cattle, and other livestock and large animals.

The product can be used continuously from early life, right through to immediately before slaughter. It will not cause wet droppings or wet meat.

Selectolyte should be routinely used in situations listed below. It is also of special benefit to young animals and chickens suffering from any condition of stress which increases body temperature, fluid intake and output and loss of electrolytes.

  • Increased feed conversion rate.
  • Slower growth rate.
  • Increased susceptibility to disease.
  • Increased cannibalism.
  • Carcass down-grading.
  • Increased mortality.
  • Reduced egg shell size, egg production or poor shell quality.
  • Decreased fertility.
  • Wet droppings, diarrhoea/digestive disturbances.
  • De-beaking, de-horning.
  • Temperature above or below the ‘Zone of Comfort’.
  • Disease, for e.g. bronchitis or sickness.
  • To balance dietary electrolytes.
  • To prevent dehydration or counteract dehydration when it has already occurred.
  • Overcrowding.
  • Transportation.
  • Vaccination.
  • Kidney damage (uraemia).

Application Questions

For use in drinking water:

To control production loss, add 200 g of Selectolyte to each 100 litres of drinking water to be consumed. Continue for 7 – 14 days.

To treat livestock heat stress, add 600 g of Selectolyte to each 100 litres of drinking water. Continue until recovery. Withdraw feed for two hours or so during the heat of the day.

For use with livestock feed

To control production loss, add 2 kg per 1,000 kg of feed.

To treat heat stress add 6 kg per 1,000 kg of feed.

For more information about Selectolyte feed additive, view the Product Label or download the Selectolyte Product Brochure.

Alternatively, ask our sales team a question.