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Effects of endurance training on standard and signal-averaged electrocardiograms of sled dogs

Peter D. ConstableDepartment of Veterinary Clinical Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61802.

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 BVSc, PhD
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Kenneth W. HinchcliffDepartment of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210.

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 BVSc, PhD
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Jeanne L. OlsonRaven Veterinary Services, North Pole, AK 99705.

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 DVM
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Rebecca L. StepienDepartment of Medical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706.

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 DVM, MS

Abstract

Objective—To determine the effect of endurance training on QRS duration, QRS-wave amplitude, and QT interval.

Animals—100 sled dogs in Alaska.

Procedure—Dogs were examined in early September (before training) and late March (after training). During the interim, dogs trained by pulling a sled with a musher (mean, 20 km/d). Standard and signal-averaged ECG were obtained before and after training.

Results—Endurance training significantly increased mean QRS duration by 4.4 milliseconds for standard ECG (mean ± SEM; 62.3 ± 0.7 to 66.7 ± 0.6 milliseconds) and 4.3 milliseconds for signal-averaged ECG (51.5 ± 0.7 to 55.8 ± 0.6 milliseconds) without changing body weight. Increase in QRS duration corresponded to a calculated increase in heart weight (standard ECG, 23%; signal-averaged ECG, 27%). Signal-averaged QRS duration was correlated with echocardiographically determined left ventricular diastolic diameter for the X orthogonal lead (r = +0.41), Y orthogonal lead (r = +0.33), and vector (r = +0.35). Training also increased QT interval (234 ± 2 to 249 ± 2 milliseconds) and R-wave amplitude in leads II and rV2, increased peak-to-peak voltage and S-wave amplitude in the Y orthogonal lead, and decreased Q-wave amplitude in the Y orthogonal lead.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Electrocardiographic changes reflected physiologic cardiac hypertrophy in these canine athletes in response to repetitive endurance exercise. The QRS duration increases in response to endurance exercise training and, therefore, may be of use in predicting performance in endurance activities. (Am J Vet Res 2000;61:582–588)

Abstract

Objective—To determine the effect of endurance training on QRS duration, QRS-wave amplitude, and QT interval.

Animals—100 sled dogs in Alaska.

Procedure—Dogs were examined in early September (before training) and late March (after training). During the interim, dogs trained by pulling a sled with a musher (mean, 20 km/d). Standard and signal-averaged ECG were obtained before and after training.

Results—Endurance training significantly increased mean QRS duration by 4.4 milliseconds for standard ECG (mean ± SEM; 62.3 ± 0.7 to 66.7 ± 0.6 milliseconds) and 4.3 milliseconds for signal-averaged ECG (51.5 ± 0.7 to 55.8 ± 0.6 milliseconds) without changing body weight. Increase in QRS duration corresponded to a calculated increase in heart weight (standard ECG, 23%; signal-averaged ECG, 27%). Signal-averaged QRS duration was correlated with echocardiographically determined left ventricular diastolic diameter for the X orthogonal lead (r = +0.41), Y orthogonal lead (r = +0.33), and vector (r = +0.35). Training also increased QT interval (234 ± 2 to 249 ± 2 milliseconds) and R-wave amplitude in leads II and rV2, increased peak-to-peak voltage and S-wave amplitude in the Y orthogonal lead, and decreased Q-wave amplitude in the Y orthogonal lead.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Electrocardiographic changes reflected physiologic cardiac hypertrophy in these canine athletes in response to repetitive endurance exercise. The QRS duration increases in response to endurance exercise training and, therefore, may be of use in predicting performance in endurance activities. (Am J Vet Res 2000;61:582–588)