Acta Vet. Brno 2020, 89: 125-131

The effect of 60 km endurance exercise on serum electrolytes and acid–base balance in the Žemaitukai horses

Indrė Poškienė, Vida Juozaitienė, Renata Gruodytė, Ramūnas Antanaitis

Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Kaunas, Lithuania

Received November 6, 2019
Accepted April 30, 2020

The Lithuanian Žemaitukai horse breed is one of the oldest in Europe. Currently, there is a lack of information about the effect of endurance competition on blood indices and acid–base balance in the Žemaitukai horses. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of endurance exercise on the acid–base balance and electrolyte indicators of the Žemaitukai horses in an official endurance competition. In total, 48 horses of the Žemaitukai breed competed in endurance competitions over the same distance (60 km). Samples were taken before and immediately after the exercise. The following indicators were analysed: the hydrogen potential (pH), partial carbon dioxide pressure (pCO2), partial oxygen pressure (pO2), base excess in blood (BE), base excess in the extracellular fluid [BE (ecf)], cHCO3 (bicarbonate), cSO2 (oxygen saturation), tCO2 (blood total carbon dioxide), haematocrit (HCT), haemoglobin concentration (cHgb), sodium (Na), potassium (K), calcium (Ca), chlorides (Cl), and lactate (Lac). Increase in pH showed adaptation of the horse metabolism to exercise. Blood changes were caused by the development of dehydration and metabolic alkalosis. According to Lac results, all horses were fit and tolerated well physical activity. The exercise did not significantly affect the demand for minerals. Based on the results obtained, it can be stated that horses of the Žemaitukai breed are suitable for endurance competing.


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