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J Appl Physiol (1985). 1999 Nov;87(5):1843-51.

Equine sweating responses to submaximal exercise during 21 days of heat acclimation.

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


This study examined sweating responses in six exercise-trained horses during 21 consecutive days (4 h/day) of exposure to, and daily exercise in, hot humid conditions (32-34 degrees C, 80-85% relative humidity). On days 0, 3, 7, 14, and 21, horses completed a standardized exercise test on a treadmill (6 degrees incline) at a speed eliciting 50% of maximal O(2) uptake until a pulmonary artery temperature of 41.5 degrees C was attained. Sweat was collected at rest, every 5 min during exercise, and during 1 h of standing recovery for measurement of ion composition (Na(+), K(+), and Cl(-)) and sweating rate (SR). There was no change in the mean time to reach a pulmonary artery temperature of 41.5 degrees C (range 19.09 +/- 1.41 min on day 0 to 20.92 +/- 1.98 min on day 3). Peak SR during exercise (ml. m(-2). min(-1)) increased on day 7 (57.5 +/- 5. 0) but was not different on day 21 (48.0 +/- 4.7) compared with day 0 (52.0 +/- 3.4). Heat acclimation resulted in a 17% decline in SR during recovery and decreases in body mass and sweat fluid losses during the standardized exercise test of 25 and 22%, respectively, by day 21. By day 21, there was also a 10% decrease in mean sweat Na(+) concentration for a given SR during exercise and recovery; this contributed to an approximately 26% decrease in calculated total sweat ion losses (3,112 +/- 114 mmol on day 0 vs. 2,295 +/- 107 mmol on day 21). By day 21, there was a decrease in sweating threshold ( approximately 1 degrees C) but no change in sweat sensitivity. It is concluded that horses responded to 21 days of acclimation to, and exercise in, hot humid conditions with a reduction in sweat ion losses attributed to decreases in sweat Na(+) concentration and SR during recovery.

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