OBJECTIVE To determine usefulness of skin turgor and capillary refill time (CRT) for predicting changes in hydration status of working dogs after a 15-minute exercise period.
ANIMALS 9 exercise-conditioned working dogs between 8 and 108 months of age.
PROCEDURES Skin tent time (SkTT; time for tented skin on the forehead to return to an anatomically normal position) and CRT (time for occluded mucous membrane capillary vessels to return to the color visible before occlusion) were measured on dogs in a field setting and by video review. Body weight (BW), SkTT, CRT, and core body temperature were measured before and after a 15-minute exercise period. Exercise challenge was performed on days 1 and 8.
RESULTS Time (day 1 vs day 8) did not significantly affect results; therefore, data were pooled for the 2 trial days. Mean ± SE BW decreased (but not significantly) by 0.83 ± 0.27% after exercise. The SkTT increased significantly (both field setting and video review) after exercise. Correlation between SkTT results for the field setting and video review (r = 0.68) was significant. The CRT decreased (but not significantly) after exercise.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Dogs became mildly dehydrated (mean BW loss, 0.83%) during a 15-minute exercise period, and the mild dehydration was evident as a visually detectable change in skin turgor. Monitoring the SkTT appeared to be a useful strategy for predicting small shifts in hydration status of dogs during exercise. The CRT decreased and was not a significant predictor of a change in hydration status.