Effect of protein intake during training on biochemical and performance variables in sled dogs

Arleigh J. Reynolds From the Department of Clinical Sciences (Reynolds, Frank) and the Teaching Hospital (Kallfelz), College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853-6401; the Department of Research and Development, the lams Company, 6571 Slate Rte 503 N, Lewisburg, OH 45338 (Reinhart, Carey); and Countryside Veterinary Clinic, 21995 Cole Rd, Carthage, NY 13619 (Simmerman).

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Gregory A. Reinhart From the Department of Clinical Sciences (Reynolds, Frank) and the Teaching Hospital (Kallfelz), College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853-6401; the Department of Research and Development, the lams Company, 6571 Slate Rte 503 N, Lewisburg, OH 45338 (Reinhart, Carey); and Countryside Veterinary Clinic, 21995 Cole Rd, Carthage, NY 13619 (Simmerman).

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Daniel P. Carey From the Department of Clinical Sciences (Reynolds, Frank) and the Teaching Hospital (Kallfelz), College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853-6401; the Department of Research and Development, the lams Company, 6571 Slate Rte 503 N, Lewisburg, OH 45338 (Reinhart, Carey); and Countryside Veterinary Clinic, 21995 Cole Rd, Carthage, NY 13619 (Simmerman).

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Dawn A. Simmerman From the Department of Clinical Sciences (Reynolds, Frank) and the Teaching Hospital (Kallfelz), College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853-6401; the Department of Research and Development, the lams Company, 6571 Slate Rte 503 N, Lewisburg, OH 45338 (Reinhart, Carey); and Countryside Veterinary Clinic, 21995 Cole Rd, Carthage, NY 13619 (Simmerman).

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David A. Frank From the Department of Clinical Sciences (Reynolds, Frank) and the Teaching Hospital (Kallfelz), College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853-6401; the Department of Research and Development, the lams Company, 6571 Slate Rte 503 N, Lewisburg, OH 45338 (Reinhart, Carey); and Countryside Veterinary Clinic, 21995 Cole Rd, Carthage, NY 13619 (Simmerman).

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Francis A. Kallfelz From the Department of Clinical Sciences (Reynolds, Frank) and the Teaching Hospital (Kallfelz), College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853-6401; the Department of Research and Development, the lams Company, 6571 Slate Rte 503 N, Lewisburg, OH 45338 (Reinhart, Carey); and Countryside Veterinary Clinic, 21995 Cole Rd, Carthage, NY 13619 (Simmerman).

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Abstract

Objective

To determine effects of protein intake on blood variables, plasma volume, and maximal oxygen uptake (Vo2max) in sled dogs undergoing rigorous training.

Animals

32 Alaskan sled dogs, between 2 and 6 years old.

Procedure

Dogs were assigned to 1 of 4 groups on the basis of age, sex, and ability. Isocaloric diets containing 18% (diet A), 23% (diet B), 29% (diet C), or 35% (diet D) of energy as protein were assigned randomly to each group and fed 1 month before and during a 12-week training period. Maximal oxygen uptake was measured at 0 (before training) and 12 weeks. Body weight, protein and energy intake, plasma volume, PCV, hemoglobin concentration, and serum biochemical variables were measured at 0, 8, and 12 weeks.

Results

Serum biochemical variables, PCV, and hemoglobin concentration remained within reference ranges for all dogs. Dogs fed diet A had a decrease in Vo2max and a greater rate of soft tissue injury throughout training, compared with dogs fed the other diets. At 12 weeks, dogs fed diets C and D had greater serum sodium concentration and hemoglobin concentration than did dogs fed diet A. Dogs fed diet D also had more plasma volume at 12 weeks than did dogs of any other group.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance

Consumption of a diet with 18% dietary protein on an energy basis (3.0 g of protein/kg of body weight) is insufficient to meet the metabolic requirements of sled dogs in training. For intense interval work, a diet with 35% dietary protein as energy (6.0 g of protein/kg) may provide a performance advantage by promoting an increase in plasma volume. (Am J Vet Res 1999;60: 789–795)

Abstract

Objective

To determine effects of protein intake on blood variables, plasma volume, and maximal oxygen uptake (Vo2max) in sled dogs undergoing rigorous training.

Animals

32 Alaskan sled dogs, between 2 and 6 years old.

Procedure

Dogs were assigned to 1 of 4 groups on the basis of age, sex, and ability. Isocaloric diets containing 18% (diet A), 23% (diet B), 29% (diet C), or 35% (diet D) of energy as protein were assigned randomly to each group and fed 1 month before and during a 12-week training period. Maximal oxygen uptake was measured at 0 (before training) and 12 weeks. Body weight, protein and energy intake, plasma volume, PCV, hemoglobin concentration, and serum biochemical variables were measured at 0, 8, and 12 weeks.

Results

Serum biochemical variables, PCV, and hemoglobin concentration remained within reference ranges for all dogs. Dogs fed diet A had a decrease in Vo2max and a greater rate of soft tissue injury throughout training, compared with dogs fed the other diets. At 12 weeks, dogs fed diets C and D had greater serum sodium concentration and hemoglobin concentration than did dogs fed diet A. Dogs fed diet D also had more plasma volume at 12 weeks than did dogs of any other group.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance

Consumption of a diet with 18% dietary protein on an energy basis (3.0 g of protein/kg of body weight) is insufficient to meet the metabolic requirements of sled dogs in training. For intense interval work, a diet with 35% dietary protein as energy (6.0 g of protein/kg) may provide a performance advantage by promoting an increase in plasma volume. (Am J Vet Res 1999;60: 789–795)

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