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Equine Vet J Suppl. 1995 Nov;(20):153-7.

Sweating rate and sweat composition during exercise and recovery in ambient heat and humidity.

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Ontario Veterinary College, Guelph, Canada.


The objective of this study was to determine the composition and extent of sweat losses during submaximal exercise under hot and humid conditions and to compare these findings with the same exercise protocol conducted under cool, dry and hot, dry conditions. Five Thoroughbred horses (age 3 to 6) completed exercise tests under each of 3 environmental conditions in random order: cool, dry (CD), room temperature (T) = 20 degrees C, relative humidity (RH) = 45-55%; hot, dry (HD), T = 32-34 degrees C, RH = 45-55%; and hot, humid (HH), T = 32-34 degrees C, RH = 80-85%. Horses exercised at 50% of their predetermined VO2max on a treadmill set at a 10% slope until attainment of a pulmonary artery blood temperature of 41.5 degrees C followed by a 60 min recovery. Sweat was collected from a sealed polyethylene pouch enclosing a 150 cm2 area on the lateral thorax. During exercise and the first 30 min of recovery, sweat fluid losses were 7.9 +/- 0.7 litres, 9.9 +/- 0.5 litres and 6.6 +/- 1.2 litres (mean +/- s.e.m.) for CD, HD and HH, respectively. Sweating rate (SR), calculated from sweat volume per unit area of enclosed skin, was lowest in CD and similar in HD and HH during exercise such that at end of exercise in HH (16.5 min) calculated sweat losses were approximately 5% and 32% higher than in HD and CD, respectively. In recovery, SR declined in all conditions but was significantly lower in CD (P < 0.05). Sweating was detectable until 30 min recovery in CD, 45 min recovery in HD and 60 min recovery in HH. Sweat composition and osmolality was different under the 3 environmental conditions and changed gradually during exercise and recovery in all conditions. Osmolality and [Na] was highest in HD and lowest in CD. During exercise, [Na] increased with increasing SR. Although exercise duration was significantly decreased in HH (16.5 +/- 1 min) when compared to HD (28 +/- 2 min) and CD (37 +/- 2 min), fluid and ion losses in HH were comparable to those in HD as a result of a high SR and prolonged sweating during recovery.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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