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Objective—To determine components of the increase in oxygen consumption (O2) and evaluate determinants of hemoglobin saturation (SO2) during incremental treadmill exercise in unfit horses.

Animals—7 unfit adult mares.

Procedures—Horses performed 1 preliminary exercise test (EXT) and 2 experimental EXT. Arterial and mixed venous blood samples and hemodynamic measurements were taken during the last 30 seconds of each step of the GXT to measure PO2, hemoglobin concentration ([Hb]), SO2, and determinants of acidbase state (protein, electrolytes, and PCO2).

Results—Increased O2 during exercise was facilitated by significant increases in cardiac output (CO), [Hb], and widening of the arteriovenous difference in O2. Arterial and venous pH, PaO2, and PvO2 decreased during exercise. Arterial PCO2, bicarbonate ([HCO3])a, and [HCO3]v decreased significantly, whereas PvCO2 and increased. Arterial and venous sodium concentration, potassium concentration, strong ion difference, and venous lactate concentration all increased significantly during exercise.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Increases in CO, [Hb], and O2 extraction contributed equally to increased O2 during exercise. Higher PCO2 did not provide an independent contribution to shift in the oxyhemoglobin dissociation curve (OCD) in venous blood. However, lower PaCO2 shifted the curve leftward, facilitating O2 loading. The shift of ODC resulted in minimal effect on O2 extraction because of convergence of the ODC at lower values of PO2. Decreased pH appeared responsible for the rightward shift of the ODC, which may be necessary to allow maximal O2 extraction at high blood flows achieved during exercise. (Am J Vet Res 2000;61:1325–1332)

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To assess changes in muscle glycogen (MG) and triglyceride (MT) concentrations in aerobically conditioned sled dogs during prolonged exercise.

Animals—54 Alaskan sled dogs fed a high-fat diet.

Procedures—48 dogs ran 140-km distances on 4 consecutive days (cumulative distance, up to 560 km); 6 dogs remained as nonexercising control animals. Muscle biopsies were performed immediately after running 140, 420, or 560 km (6 dogs each) and subsequently after feeding and 7 hours of rest. Single muscle biopsies were performed during recovery at 28 hours in 7 dogs that completed 560 km and at 50 and 98 hours in 7 and 6 dogs that completed 510 km, respectively. Tissue samples were analyzed for MG and MT concentrations.

Results—In control dogs, mean ± SD MG and MT concentrations were 375 ± 37 mmol/kg of dry weight (kgDW) and 25.9 ± 10.3 mmol/kgDW, respectively. Compared with control values, MG concentration was lower after dogs completed 140 and 420 km (137 ± 36 mmol/kgDW and 203 ± 30 mmol/kgDW, respectively); MT concentration was lower after dogs completed 140, 420, and 560 km (7.4 ± 5.4 mmol/kgDW; 9.6 ± 6.9 mmol/kgDW, and 6.3 ± 4.9 mmol/kgDW, respectively). Depletion rates during the first run exceeded rates during the final run. Replenishment rates during recovery periods were not different, regardless of distance; only MG concentration at 50 hours was significantly greater than the control value.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Concentration of MG progressively increased in sled dogs undergoing prolonged exercise as a result of attenuated depletion.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To determine the effects of training and sustained submaximal exercise on hematologic values in racing sled dogs.

Design—Cohort study.

Animals—39 Alaskan sled dogs bred for endurance racing.

Procedures—Blood samples were collected prior to initiation of a 7-month training regimen (n = 39), after completion of the training regimen (19), and after completion of an 1,100-mile race (9), and a CBC, differential cell count, and flow cytometry for leukocyte surface antigens were performed.

Results—Both training and exercise caused significant decreases in PCV and hemoglobin concentration and significant increases in total WBC count. In contrast, training and exercise were not found to have significant effects on absolute numbers or fractions of CD4+ or CD8+ lymphocytes, other than a significant increase in the fraction of CD8+ lymphocytes associated with training.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that training and exercise induced changes in several hematologic values in racing sled dogs. Extracellular fluid volume expansion was the likely explanation for the training-induced decrease in PCV, and acute blood loss secondary to gastrointestinal tract bleeding was likely responsible for the decrease in PCV associated with acute exercise.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To determine whether prolonged exercise by conditioned sled dogs affects urine concentrations of homovanillic acid (a metabolite of dopamine), vanillylmandelic acid (a metabolite of norepinephrine and epinephrine), and cortisol.

Animals—24 conditioned Alaskan sled dogs (2 to 8.5 years old) that were in training for a multiday endurance race.

Procedures—Voided urine samples were collected from 4 groups of dogs (randomly selected from 54 dogs) after no exercise (control group; n = 6 dogs), completion of a 160km run (group A; 3), completion of a 420-km run (group B; 7), and completion of a 560-km run (group C; 6). Urine cortisol concentrations were determined by use of an immunoassay technique; urine vanillylmandelic acid and homovanillic acid concentrations were measured via high-performance liquid chromatography.

Results—Compared with the control group, urine cortisol concentration in groups A, B, and C was significantly different (5.33 × 10−4 ± 2.62 × 10−4 μg/dL vs 1.04 × 10−4 ± 2.31 × 10−5 μg/dL, 8.88 × 10−4 ± 5.49 × 10−4 μg/dL, and 6.31 × 10−4 ± 5.09 × 10−4 μg/dL, respectively). Urine homovanillic acid concentration did not differ among the 4 groups. Vanillylmandelic acid was not detected in any urine samples.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicated that prolonged exercise by sled dogs did not affect urine homovanillic acid concentration but did increase urinary cortisol secretion, which is indicative of adrenocortical stimulation. The apparent lack of vanillylmandelic acid in voided urine samples requires further investigation.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research