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Res Vet Sci. 2003 Oct;75(2):149-55.

Effect of dietary fat source and exercise on odorant-detecting ability of canine athletes.

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Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences, College of Agriculture, Auburn University, AL 36849-5415, USA.


Eighteen male English Pointers (2-4 years of age, 23.94+/-0.54 kg body weight) were allotted to three diet and two physical conditioning groups to evaluate the effect of level and source of dietary fat on the olfactory acuity of canine athletes subjected to treadmill exercise. Diet groups (6 dogs/diet) consisted of commercially prepared diets (minimum of 26% crude protein) containing 12% fat as beef tallow (A), 16% fat provided by equivalent amounts of beef tallow and corn oil (B), or 16% fat provided by equivalent amounts of beef tallow and coconut oil (C). This dietary formulation resulted in approximately 60% of the total fatty acid being saturated for diets A and C, while approximately 72% of the total fatty acids were unsaturated in diet B. One-half of the dogs within each dietary group were subjected to treadmill exercise 3 times per week for 30 min (8.05 km/h, 0% grade) for 12 weeks. All dogs were subjected to a submaximal exercise stress test (8.05 km/h, 10% slope for 60 min) every four weeks beginning at week 0. Olfactory acuity was measured utilizing behavioral olfactometry before and after each physical stress test. Non-conditioned (NON) dogs displayed a greater decrease (P<0.05) in olfactory acuity following exercise, while physically conditioned (EXE) dogs did not show a change from pre-test values. A diet by treatment interaction (P<0.10) was detected over the course of the study. NON dogs fed coconut oil had decreased odorant-detecting capabilities when week 4 values were compared with week 12 values. Feeding a diet that is predominately high in saturated fat may affect the odorant-detecting capabilities of working dogs. Additionally, these data indicate that utilization of a moderate physical conditioning program can assist canine athletes in maintaining olfactory acuity during periods of intense exercise.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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