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Lessons from the Iditarod
Date:9/24/2008

HILTON HEAD, SCDogs are often called "man's best friend," and rightly so. Consider, for example, that they never interrupt us when we talk, are always happy to see us when we arrive home, and provide comfort when we are lovesick. Since dogs became domesticated 15,000 years ago, they have worked with and lived next to humans, which some say may account for the special bond. Each of the 400 breeds and varieties are unique, but only one stands out as the ultra-athlete canine: the racing sled dogs.

Racing sled dogs are best known for their "mushing" each March during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, the world's longest sled race. They are the premier ultra-endurance competitors, covering 1,100 miles from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska, sometimes in just nine days. It is unclear how they can keep running, despite heavy blizzards, temperatures as low as 󈞔F, and winds up to 60 mph. No other animal has been found to come close to the physiological attributes these dogs display.

Dr. Michael Davis has focused on the mysteries of this breed for work for more than a decade. The professor at the Oklahoma State University's Center for Veterinary Health Sciences will discuss his recent findings entitled, "Metabolic Strategies for Sustained Endurance Exercise: Lessons from the Iditarod." His presentation is part of the American Physiological Society's (APS) (www.The-APS.org) conference, The Integrative Biology of Exercise V, being held September 24-27, 2008 in Hilton Head, SC.

How Do They Do It? The Exercise Physiology of Sled Dogs

The physiological understandings that Davis and his colleagues have uncovered thus far are extensive. Among their findings is:

  • Rapid Adaptation to Exercise and EnduranceThe most striking feature of these canines is their ability to rapidly adapt to sustained strenuous exercise in 24-48 hours. Conditioned dogs display most of the metabolic changes t
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Contact: Donna Krupa
DKrupa@The-APS.org
703-967-2751
American Physiological Society
Source:Eurekalert

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