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  • Author or Editor: Lisa A. Borgia x
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OBJECTIVE To compare effects of training on conventional and underwater treadmills on fiber properties and metabolic responses of the superficial digital flexor (SDF) and gluteal muscles to high-speed exercise in horses.

SAMPLE 6 unconditioned Quarter Horse–type horses.

PROCEDURES 6 horses were walked on underwater and conventional treadmills for 5 d/wk (maximum, 40 min/d) for 8 weeks in a randomized crossover design (60-day detraining period). Horses underwent a standardized exercise test (SET) at high speed before and after training. Analyte concentrations and fiber characteristics were measured in muscle biopsy specimens obtained from horses before and after each SET.

RESULTS Lactate concentration increased 2- to 3-fold in SDF and gluteal muscle after SETs. No training effect was identified on muscle fiber type composition, type II fiber diameter, muscle analyte concentrations, blood lactate concentration, or heart rate responses. Maximum diameters of type I fibers decreased significantly in gluteal muscle with conventional treadmill training and decreased in SDF muscle with both types of training, with maximum diameters greater for horses after underwater versus conventional treadmill training. No change was identified in minimum fiber diameters.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE SETs involving near-maximal exertion resulted in an anaerobic response in SDF and gluteal muscles of horses. Eight weeks of conventional or underwater treadmill training resulted in minor changes in type I muscle fiber sizes, with no effect on muscle metabolic or heart rate responses to SETs. After rehabilitation involving underwater treadmills, training at progressing speeds is recommended for horses to develop the required fitness for speed work.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To evaluate effects of fats with odd and even numbers of carbon atoms on muscle metabolism in exercising horses with polysaccharide storage myopathy (PSSM).

Animals—8 horses with PSSM (6 females and 2 males; mean ± SD age, 6.3 ± 3.9 years).

Procedures—Isocaloric diets (grain, triheptanoin, corn oil, and high-fat, low-starch [HFLS] feed) were fed for 3 weeks each; horses performed daily treadmill exercise. Grain was fed to establish an exercise target, and HFLS feed was fed as a negative control diet. Daily plasma samples were obtained. For each diet, a 15-minute exercise test was performed, and gluteus medius muscle specimens and blood samples were obtained before and after exercise.

Results—Feeding triheptanoin, compared with the corn oil diet, resulted in exercise intolerance; higher plasma creatine kinase (CK) activity and concentrations of C3:0- and C7:0-acylcarnitine and insulin; and lower concentrations of nonesterified fatty acids (NEFA) and C16:0-, C18:1-, and C18:2-acylcarnitine, without changes in concentrations of plasma glucose or resting muscle substrates and metabolites. Feeding grain induced higher CK activity and insulin concentrations and lower NEFA concentrations than did corn oil or HFLS feed. Feeding grain induced higher glucose concentrations than did triheptanoin and corn oil. In muscle, feeding grain resulted in lower glucose-6-phosphate, higher citrate, and higher postexercise lactate concentrations than did the other diets.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Triheptanoin had detrimental effects, reflecting decreased availability of NEFA, increased insulin stimulation of glycogen synthesis, and potential inhibition of lipid oxidation. Long-chain fats are the best dietetic for PSSM.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research