Metabolizable energy intake and sustained energy expenditure of Alaskan sled dogs during heavy exertion in the cold

Kenneth W. Hinchcliff From the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210-1089 (Hinchcliff); Research and Development, The Iams Co, PO Box 189, Lewisburg, OH 45338 (Reinhart, Burr, Schreier); and Lightning Bolt Express Kennels, PO Box 16205, Two Rivers, AK 99716 (Swenson).

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Gregory A. Reinhart From the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210-1089 (Hinchcliff); Research and Development, The Iams Co, PO Box 189, Lewisburg, OH 45338 (Reinhart, Burr, Schreier); and Lightning Bolt Express Kennels, PO Box 16205, Two Rivers, AK 99716 (Swenson).

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John R. Burr From the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210-1089 (Hinchcliff); Research and Development, The Iams Co, PO Box 189, Lewisburg, OH 45338 (Reinhart, Burr, Schreier); and Lightning Bolt Express Kennels, PO Box 16205, Two Rivers, AK 99716 (Swenson).

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Curt J. Schreier From the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210-1089 (Hinchcliff); Research and Development, The Iams Co, PO Box 189, Lewisburg, OH 45338 (Reinhart, Burr, Schreier); and Lightning Bolt Express Kennels, PO Box 16205, Two Rivers, AK 99716 (Swenson).

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Richard A. Swenson From the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210-1089 (Hinchcliff); Research and Development, The Iams Co, PO Box 189, Lewisburg, OH 45338 (Reinhart, Burr, Schreier); and Lightning Bolt Express Kennels, PO Box 16205, Two Rivers, AK 99716 (Swenson).

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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)

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)

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