All three of these minerals function as electrolytes in the body. Electrolytes are mineral ions, carrying a positive or negative charge that the body uses for osmotic balance, pH balance and water movement. They are also essential in transmission of nerve impulses. These minerals are highly water soluble and are easily lost with diarrhea. Electrolyte solutions used to treat animals with diarrhea contain all three of these minerals. A deficiency of potassium could occur on high concentrate diets, with symptoms including poor appetite, urinary calculi, body stiffness progressing from front to rear and pica. A deficiency of chloride depresses growth. A deficiency of sodium causes reduced growth and feed efficiency. Salt provides both sodium and chloride. Most forages have adequate levels of potassium.
Reference: Hart, S. 2008. Meat Goat Nutrition. Pages 58-83 in Proc. 23rd Ann. Goat Field Day, Langston University, Langston, OK.