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Serum chemistry and electrolyte alterations in sled dogs before and after a 1600 km race: dietary sodium and hyponatraemia*

  • Valentina Ermon (a1), Molly Yazwinski (a1), Justin G. Milizio (a1) and Joseph J. Wakshlag (a1)
Abstract
Abstract

Sled dogs are known to develop numerous serum biochemical changes due to endurance exercise. Previous studies have suggested that mild hyponatraemia and hypokalaemia can develop during endurance racing. The aim of the present study was to determine if serum biochemical alterations are similar to previous reports, and if electrolyte alterations are still present with present feeding practices utilised by mushers. Serum chemistries were obtained from 26 Alaskan Huskies belonging to 3 different teams, before and after a 1600 km race. Meals and snacks were analysed via calculation to determine daily macronutrient and electrolyte intake. Numerous biochemical alterations were observed including significant differences in serum total protein, albumin, globulin, aspartate aminotransferase, creatine kinase, TAG, NEFA and urea nitrogen (P < 0·05). Serum electrolyte status revealed a mild, yet significant decrease in serum sodium (P = 0·002); and serum potassium was not significantly different (P = 0·566). Further examination of the sodium intake across the three teams revealed two teams with an average daily intake of approximately 8·5 g/dog/d (700 mg/4184 kJ) and the other team consuming 11·1 g/dog/d (1200 mg/4184 kJ). Regression analysis shows a significant modest positive correlation between serum sodium decrease and sodium intake per metabolic body weight of the dogs, as well as a modest positive correlation between sodium intake and serum potassium implicating the renin–angiotensin aldosterone system as a major factor involved in sodium and potassium homoeostasis. These findings suggest that consumption of approximately 0·9 g/kg0·75 (1·2 g/4184 kJ) of sodium per d may prevent exercise-induced decreases in sodium and potassium.

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Copyright
The online version of this article is published within an Open Access environment subject to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution license <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/>.
Corresponding author
Corresponding author: Dr J. Wakshlag, fax +1 607 253 3534, email Jw37@cornell.edu
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This article was published as part of the WALTHAM International Nutritional Sciences Symposium Proceedings 2013.

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5. EC McKenzie , E Jose-Cunilleras , KW Hinchcliff , (2007) Serum chemistry alterations in Alaskan sled dogs during five successive days of prolonged endurance exercise. J Am Vet Med Assoc 230, 14861492.

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10. CS Almond , AY Shin , EB Fortescue , (2005) Hyponatremia among runners in the Boston Marathon. N Engl J Med 352, 15501556.

11. SJ Montain , MN Sawka & CB Wenger (2001) Hyponatremia associated with exercise: risk factors and pathogenesis. Exerc Sport Sci Rev 29, 113117.

16. P Lijnen , P Hespel , R Fagard , (1989) Effect of prolonged physical exercise on intra-erythrocyte and plasma potassium. Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol 59, 296302.

17. P Brancaccio , G Lippi & N Maffulli (2010) Biochemical markers of muscular damage. Clin Chem Lab Med 48, 757767.

18. EC McKenzie , KW Hinchcliff , SJ Valberg , (2008) Assessment of alterations in triglyceride and glycogen concentrations in muscle tissue of Alaskan sled dogs during repetitive prolonged exercise. Am J Vet Res 69, 10971103.

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Journal of Nutritional Science
  • ISSN: 2048-6790
  • EISSN: 2048-6790
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