Cardiovascular Clinical Assessment in Greyster Dogs in Bikejöring Training

Animals (Basel). 2020 Sep 11;10(9):1635. doi: 10.3390/ani10091635.


Bikejöring is a type of dryland mushing requiring high-intensity aerobic effort, with speed peaks close to 42 km/h. Greysters (crosses between the German Shorthaired Pointer and the Greyhound) often participate in such events and perform well. The objective of this comparative study was to evaluate the clinical use of non-invasive methods in assessing the cardiovascular health of 22 Greyster dogs in physical training, by determining the differences between different cardiovascular parameters before and after physical training. Blood pressure, heart rate and echocardiographic results were compared. The mean age of the dogs was 4.4 years ± 1.8% and 54.5% were female. All participating dogs regularly participated in bikejöring. Post-exercise increases were observed in systolic blood pressure (SBP), mean arterial pressure (MBP) and pulse pressure (SBPD), with diastolic blood pressure (DBP) remaining stable. Changes of clinical interest were observed in numerous echocardiographic variables such as left ventricle fractional shortening (LVFS), left ventricule ejection fraction (LVEF), E-point to septal separation (EPSS), cardiac output (CO), cardiac index (CI), posterior wall thickness at end-diastole (PWd) and major/minor axis ratio (MA/ma), including a decrease in the shortening fraction and an increase in EPSS after exercise. These clinical findings were observed in both males and females; they do not appear to be associated with dilated cardiomyopathy, but rather with a cardiovascular response to physical training. This study derives from the real interest of clinical veterinarians who care for highly trained canine athletes. It contributes to an increase in knowledge of the different cardiac adaptations of such dogs after intense exercise and serves to differentiate these from pathologic conditions.

Keywords: Greyster; bikejöring; canine athlete adaptation; cardiovascular response; doppler; dryland mushing; echocardiography.