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Old 09-30-2008, 06:52 PM   #1

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Sled dogs ultimate athletes?

How sled dogs manage to run 1,100 miles in temperatures as low as 40degF

September 28th, 2008 - 2:09 pm ICT by ANI -

Washington, Sept 28 (AN): Racing sled dogs are considered to be the ultra-athlete canine for their ability of covering 1,100 miles from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska, sometimes in just nine days, during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Now, a new research sheds light on how they do it.
The study led by Dr. Michael Davis at the Oklahoma State Universitys Centre for Veterinary Health Sciences has focused how these dogs are capable of running continuously, despite heavy blizzards, temperatures as low as 40degF, and winds up to 60 mph.
The most striking feature of these canines is their ability to rapidly adapt to sustained strenuous exercise in 24-48 hours.
Conditioned dogs display most of the metabolic changes that are found in human endurance athletes during their first day of exercise, including depletion of muscle energy reserves, increases in stress hormones, evidence of cellular injury (such as to proteins, lipids and DNA), and oxidative stress.

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Old 09-30-2008, 08:22 PM   #2
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Thank you for the article, I am facinated with the Iditarod and I wish I had the dogs to do it!

Its sad the amount of Animal protection that goes on now a days though for it...yes the owners need to protect their dogs but its sorta a thing that if a dog dies its because it was doing what it was suppose to do, just like hunting, but now there is so much interviention to make sure the dogs are in 100% health (and if not they are pulled from racing) what is the point...No I am not saying the dogs should die or be in harm, but this is what the breed was made to do and the owners know the risk not only to their dogs but themselves when embarking on this race.
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Old 11-28-2008, 10:22 PM   #3

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Another great article about the K9 sled dog athlete

Running on Empty

An Oklahoma scientist chases down the secrets of Alaskan sled dog endurance.

By Jonathan Teyan, posted November 28th, 2008.
The wall. Marathon runners know it well—that inevitable and dreaded point in the race when time seems to contract, when all forward motion slows and simply planting one foot in front of the other requires superhuman effort.
Exercise physiologists also know the wall and observe that even highly-trained athletes are reduced to a mere shuffle when the supply of glycogen—carbohydrates stored in muscle and liver cells—becomes critically low. For marathon runners, this typically occurs around mile 20. With six miles left to run, their bodies begin to cannibalize fat stores in earnest.
But fat is less than ideal as a source of quick fuel. Athletes, and animals of nearly every species, need nearly four times as much oxygen to metabolize fat than to break down the simple sugar glucose. Even working at maximum capacity, they simply cannot absorb enough oxygen to meet their energy demands when burning fat. Once glycogen is depleted, extreme fatigue begins to take hold, and rest becomes necessary to replenish carbohydrate stores.
But not so, it seems, for dogs.

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