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  • Author or Editor: Curt J. Schreier x
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SUMMARY

Objective

To measure energy expenditures of Alaskan sled dogs at rest and during racing under frigid conditions, using the doubly labeled water (DLW) technique.

Animals

18 fit Alaskan sled dogs.

Procedure

Energy expenditure was measured in 9 dogs during a 490-km sled dog race by use of the DLW technique, whereby dogs were administered water enriched with nonradioactive isotopes of hydrogen and oxygen. Energy intake was determined by dietary analysis. Changes in background abundance of the isotopes 2H and 18O were monitored in 5 dogs that did not receive isotope-enriched water.

Results

Dogs completed the 490-km race at an average speed of 7 km/h at ambient temperature of −35 to −10 C. Total energy expenditure, measured by the DLW technique, was 47,100 ± 5,900 kJ/d (4,400 ± 400 kJ·kg-0.75/d), and metabolizable energy intake was 44,600 kJ/d (4,100 kJ·kg-0.75/d) during the 70-hour race.

Conclusions

The sustained metabolic rate for these sled dogs during racing was extraordinarily high for a large mammal. This study validated use of the DLW technique in dogs with exceptionally high energy expenditure associated with prolonged exercise in the cold. (Am J Vet Res 1997;58:1457–1462)

Free access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Objective—

To examine the effect of participation in a long-distance race on serum electrolyte concentrations, estimated exchangeable cation content, and acid-base status of Alaskan sled dogs.

Design—

Prospective study.

Animals—

9 male and 5 female, sexually intact, physically fit Alaskan sled dogs between 18 and 48 months old.

Procedure—

Body weight was recorded, and blood samples were collected from dogs before, during, and after a 300-mile race.

Results—

Serum sodium and potassium concentrations decreased during the race, as did serum total protein, albumin, and globulin concentrations and PCV. Effects on acid-base status were minimal. Body weight and estimated total exchangeable cation content in dogs also decreased significantly during the race.

Clinical Implications—

Prolonged running is associated with decreases in serum cation concentration and estimated total exchangeable cation content in dogs, as in human beings and horses. However, the mechanism of the decrease in serum cation concentration likely differs among species. Clinical abnormalities associated with cation depletion were not observed in the dogs in this study. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1997;210: 1615–1618)

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association