Enhancing performance through dietary measures is constantly sought as some supplements have shown modest performance enhancement in rodents and human subjects. To evaluate a proprietary dietary supplement, a study was undertaken to assess the effect of diet and exercise on blood physiological parameters during a tracking American Fox Hound field championship. Ten dogs were assigned to two different groups. Group A received a commercial kibble and Group B received the same diet with the addition of a supplement added to the dietary premix for 4 weeks before the field event. Blood was collected at rest, immediately following days 1 and 2 of the event and 48 h after day 2. Blood chemistry, complete blood cell counts and cortisol concentrations were analysed. Competition performance was also documented for all dogs using a points system for tracking events. Many chemistry parameters and blood cell counts changed significantly due to exercise. Differences between the dietary groups showed that Group B had significantly lower aspartate aminotransferase on days 1 and 2 of exercise and lower creatine kinase on day 2. Based on tracking scores, dogs in Group B out-performed dogs in Group A. This study suggests that endurance hunting dogs develop changes in serum markers of musculoskeletal integrity that might be mitigated by the addition of the supplement, resulting in better performance. Although intriguing, follow-up controlled studies are needed to ensure that the enhanced performance was not biased due to lack of randomisation.
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