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J Appl Physiol (1985). 2000 Dec;89(6):2283-93.

Heat storage in horses during submaximal exercise before and after humid heat acclimation.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Studies, Ontario Veterinary College, Guelph, Ontario N1G 2W1, Canada.


The effect of humid heat acclimation on thermoregulatory responses to humid and dry exercise-heat stress was studied in six exercise-trained Thoroughbred horses. Horses were heat acclimated by performing moderate-intensity exercise for 21 days in heat and humidity (HH) [34.2-35.7 degrees C; 84-86% relative humidity (RH); wet bulb globe temperature (WBGT) index approximately 32 degrees C]. Horses completed exercise tests at 50% of peak O(2) uptake until a pulmonary arterial temperature (T(pa)) of 41.5 degrees C was attained in cool dry (CD) (20-21.5 degrees C; 45-50% RH; WBGT approximately 16 degrees C), hot dry (HD 0) [32-34 degrees C room temperature (RT); 45-55% RH; WBGT approximately 25 degrees C], and HH conditions (HH 0), and during the second hour of HH on days 3, 7, 14, and 21, and in HD on the 18th day (HD 18) of heat acclimation. The ratios of required evaporative capacity to maximal evaporative capacity of the environment (E(req)/E(max)) for CD, HD, and HH were approximately 1.2, 1.6, and 2.5, respectively. Preexercise T(pa) and rectal temperature were approximately 0.5 degrees C lower (P < 0. 05) on days 7, 14, and 21 compared with day 0. With exercise in HH, there was no effect of heat acclimation on the rate of rise in T(pa) (and therefore exercise duration) nor the rate of heat storage. In contrast, exercise duration was longer, rate of rise in T(pa) was significantly slower, and rate of heat storage was decreased on HD 18 compared with HD 0. It was concluded that, during uncompensable heat stress in horses, heat acclimation provided modest heat strain advantages when E(req)/E(max) was approximately 1.6, but at higher E(req)/E(max) no advantages were observed.

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