The aim of the study was to assess the physiological and antioxidant status before and after a 4 h search and rescue field exercise, with handlers, under warm-weather conditions performing activities compared to a control group of similarly trained dogs at rest. Serum chemistry demonstrated a decrease in serum sodium (Na) and potassium (K) in both exercising and control groups, however only Na was decreased significantly (P < 0.05) after exercise and hematocrits (HCTs) remained unchanged. The exercise group demonstrated significantly decreased serum phosphorus (P) and magnesium (Mg) compared to pre-exercise values, as did the control group (P < 0.025). There was also a significant increase in creatinine kinase concentrations in the exercise groups (P < 0.025). Serum non-esterified fatty acids were increased only in the exercise group after exercise, suggesting fat mobilization to produce energy. The mean total serum antioxidant potential in searching dogs was no different from the pre- and post-exercise values in the control dogs. Serum vitamin E concentrations did not differ between the two groups, with a decreasing trend in both groups. There was a modest decrease in serum uric acid in the control group, while there was a significant rise after exercise in the searching group (P < 0.01). Multiple changes in serum chemistry, HCTs and blood gases were documented in this study, and were similar to those observed after other endurance activities. The lack of hemoconcentration in this field search exercise suggested that even in extreme environmental conditions (heat and humidity), dogs with access to water do not experience significant dehydration or diminished antioxidant status.
Keywords: Canine; Exercise; Search and rescue; Uric acid; Vitamin E.
Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Ltd.