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  • Author or Editor: John R. Speakman x
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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)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To determine effects of increased dietary protein and decreased dietary carbohydrate on hematologic variables, body composition, and racing performance in Greyhounds.

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)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research