Acid-base and electrolyte effects of shortening steeplechase in a three-day-event.

J. H. Foreman, T. L. Grubb, G. J. Benson, L. P. Frey, R. A. Foglia, R. L. Griffin

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This study was designed to characterise the acid-base and electrolyte effects of shortening the distance required during steeplechase (Phase B) in the face of hot and humid weather conditions during a treadmill-simulated Speed and Endurance test. Eight conditioned Thoroughbred horses underwent 3 randomised permutations of a standardised exercise test on a high speed treadmill. Each test consisted of trotting at 3.7 m/s for 10 min (Phase A); galloping at 11 m/s (Phase B) for 4 (cool laboratory conditions), 3 (hot and humid), or 2 (hot and humid) min; trotting at 3.7 m/s for 30 min (Phase C); and walking at 1.8 m/s for 10 min (Phase X). The treadmill slope was 4% for trotting and galloping and 0% for walking. Cool versus hot and humid conditions were 20 degrees C and 50-60% relative humidity vs. 26-28 degrees C and 80-85% relative humidity, respectively. Pulmonary artery blood samples were obtained at rest prior to exercise (Rest); at the end of Phases A (A10) and B (B2-4); at 10 (C10), 20 (C20) and 30 (C30) min through Phase C; and at 5 min into Phase X (X5). Additional samples for lactate (LA) and glucose (GLC) analysis were obtained 5 min into Phase C (C5) and at the end of Phase X (X10). Samples were analysed for packed cell volume (PCV), haemoglobin (HB), total plasma protein (TP), sodium (Na), potassium (K), chloride (Cl), anion gap (AG), plasma glucose (GLC) and lactate (LA), pH, PCO2, bicarbonate (HCO3) and base excess (BE). Shortening steeplechase distance by 50% under hot and humid conditions (2 min B) resulted in a consistent return to control measurements (4 min B) only for plasma LA. Changes in PCV, HB, TP, K and Cl were related more to the longer galloping distance in the 4 min B trials than to hot vs. cold laboratory conditions. Alternatively, changes in LA, GLC, pH, PCO2 and AG were more related to hot and humid laboratory conditions than they were to galloping distance. These latter variables, when combined with physical measures such as core temperature, bodyweight loss, point of fatigue on Phase C and recovery heart rates may serve as the best monitors of positive responses in future studies of proposed modifications to Phase C, rather than those variables which were more distance than weather-related.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-90
Number of pages6
JournalEquine veterinary journal. Supplement
Issue number22
StatePublished - Jul 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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