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Objective—To determine whether platelets and neutrophils become activated in dogs during short-distance sled-pulling activity.

Animals—18 physically fit adult Siberian Huskies.

Procedure—Dogs were allocated into 2 teams (9 dogs/team). Each team ran a course of approximately 6.4 km while pulling a sled that contained 2 people. Blood samples were collected immediately before and within 10 minutes after completion of sled-pulling activity. Blood was aspirated into sterile syringes and immediately transferred to evacuated tubes containing EDTA solution. Platelet activation status was evaluated by determining cell-surface P-selection expression, number of platelet aggregates and platelet microparticles, mean platelet-component (MPC) concentration, and mean platelet-component distribution width (MPCDW) concentration. Neutrophil activation status was evaluated by determining cell-surface CD11/CD18 expression, neutrophil size, and neutrophil granularity.

Results—Short-duration strenuous sled-pulling activity was associated with lower MPC concentration, higher MPCDW concentration, and higher cell-surface P-selectin expression after activation with phorbol myristate acetate. An increase in neutrophil CD11/CD18 expression and a decrease in neutrophil granularity were also observed after exercise.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results of this study provide evidence of priming and activation of platelets and activation of neutrophils after strenuous short-duration sled-pulling activity. Additional studies will be needed to determine whether these changes have adverse effects on animal performance or induce tissue injury. (Am J Vet Res 2003;64:855–859)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research