Objective—To determine whether mild restriction of
food intake affects clinicopathologic variables, body
composition, and performance of dogs undertaking
intense sprint exercise.
Animals—9 trained healthy adult Greyhounds.
Procedure—Dogs were offered food free choice
once daily for 9 weeks until body weight and food
intake stabilized. Dogs were then randomly assigned
to be fed either 85% or 100% of this quantity of food
in a crossover study (duration of each diet treatment
period, 9 weeks). Dogs raced a distance of 500 m
twice weekly. Clinicopathologic variables were
assessed before and 5 minutes after racing; food
intake, weight, body composition, body condition
score, and race times were compared at the end of
each diet period.
Results—Compared with values associated with
unrestricted access to food, there were significant
decreases in mean body weight (by 6%) and median
body condition score (from 3.75 to 3.5 on a 9-point
scale) and the mean speed of the dogs was significantly
faster (by 0.7 km/h) when food intake was
restricted. Body composition and most clinicopathologic
variables were unaffected by diet treatment, but
dogs given restricted access to food had slightly
fewer neutrophils, compared with values determined
when food intake was unrestricted.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicate
that the common practice among Greyhound
trainers of mildly restricting food intake of racing dogs
to reduce body weight does improve sprint performance.
A body condition score of approximately 3.5
on a 9-point scale is normal for a trained Greyhound in
racing condition. (Am J Vet Res 2005;66:1065–1070)
Objective—To determine effects of increased dietary
protein and decreased dietary carbohydrate on hematologic
variables, body composition, and racing performance
Animals—8 adult Greyhounds.
Procedure—Dogs were fed a high-protein (HP; 37%
metabolizable-energy [ME] protein, 33% ME fat, 30%
ME carbohydrate) or moderate-protein (MP; 24% ME
protein, 33% ME fat, 43% ME carbohydrate) extruded
diet for 11 weeks. Dogs subsequently were fed
the other diet for 11 weeks (crossover design). Dogs
raced a distance of 500 m twice weekly. Rectal temperature,
hematologic variables before and after racing,
plasma volume, total body water, body weight,
average weekly food intake, and race times were
measured at the end of each diet period.
Results—When dogs were fed the MP diet, compared
with the HP diet, values (mean ± SD) differed
significantly for race time (32.43 ± 0.48 vs 32.61 ±
0.50 seconds), body weight (32.8 ± 2.5 vs 32.2 ± 2.9
kg), Hct before (56 ± 4 vs 54 ± 6%) and after (67 ± 3
vs 64 ± 8%) racing, and glucose (131 ± 16 vs 151 ±
27 mg/dl) and triglyceride (128 ± 17 vs 104 ± 28
mg/dl) concentrations after racing.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Greyhounds
were 0.18 seconds slower (equivalent to 0.08 m/s or
2.6 m) over a distance of 500 m when fed a diet with
increased protein and decreased carbohydrate.
Improved performance attributed to feeding meat to
racing Greyhounds apparently is not attributable to
increased dietary protein and decreased dietary carbohydrate.
(Am J Vet Res 2001;62:440–447)