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Influence of the Environment on Body Temperature of Racing Greyhounds

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Heat strain is a potential risk factor for racing greyhounds in hot climates. However, there have been limited studies into the incidence of heat strain (when excess heat causes physiological or pathological effects) in racing greyhounds. The aim of this study was to determine if heat strain occurs in racing greyhounds, and, if so, whether environmental factors (e.g. ambient temperature and relative humidity) or dog-related factors (e.g. sex, bodyweight, color) are associated with the risk of heat strain. A total of 229 greyhounds were included in over 46 race meetings and seven different race venues in South Australia, Australia. Rectal temperatures of dogs were measured pre- and post-race and urine samples collected for analysis of myoglobinuria. Ambient temperature at race times ranged between 11.0oC to 40.8oC and relative humidity ranged from 17% to 92%. There was a mean increase in greyhound rectal temperature of 2.1oC (range 1.1oC to 3.1oC). A small but significant association was present between ambient temperature and increase in rectal temperature (r2=0.033, P=0.007). The mean ambient temperature at race time, of dogs with post-race rectal temperature of or exceeding 41.5°C , was significantly greater than at race time of dogs with a post-race rectal temperature ≤41.5oC (31.2oC vs 27.3oC, respectively, P=0.004). When the ambient temperature reached 38oC, over one third (39%) of dogs had a rectal temperature >41.5oC. Over half of post-race urine samples were positive by Dipstick reading for haemoglobin/myoglobin, and of 77 urine samples positive for Dipstick readings, 95% were positive for myoglobin. However, urinary myoglobin levels were not associated with ambient temperature or post-race rectal temperatures. The mean increase in rectal temperature was greater in dark (black, blue, brindle) than light (fawn and white) coloured greyhounds. The results suggest heat strain occurs in racing greyhounds, evidenced by post-race rectal temperatures over 41.5oC and post-race myoglobinuria. Risk of heat strain may be increased in higher ambient temperatures and in darker coloured greyhounds. Further research into the incidence of heat strain in racing greyhounds, and longer term physiological responses to heat strain, are warranted.
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June 2016 | Volume 3 | Article 531
ORIGINAL RESEARCH
published: 30 June 2016
doi: 10.3389/fvets.2016.00053
Frontiers in Veterinary Science | www.frontiersin.org
Edited by:
Mia Cobb,
Working Dog Alliance Australia,
Australia
Reviewed by:
Howard H. Erickson,
Kansas State University, USA
Nicholas Julian Branson,
Deakin University, Australia
*Correspondence:
Susan J. Hazel
susan.hazel@adelaide.edu.au
Specialty section:
This article was submitted
to Veterinary Humanities
and Social Sciences,
a section of the journal
Frontiers in Veterinary Science
Received: 12April2016
Accepted: 17June2016
Published: 30June2016
Citation:
McNichollJ, HowarthGS
and HazelSJ (2016) Inuence
of the Environment on Body
Temperature of Racing Greyhounds.
Front. Vet. Sci. 3:53.
doi: 10.3389/fvets.2016.00053
Inuence of the Environment
onBody Temperature of Racing
Greyhounds
Jane McNicholl, Gordon S. Howarth and Susan J. Hazel*
School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA, Australia
Heat strain is a potential risk factor for racing greyhounds in hot climates. However,
there have been limited studies into the incidence of heat strain (when excess heat
causes physiological or pathological effects) in racing greyhounds. The aim of this
study was to determine if heat strain occurs in racing greyhounds, and, if so, whether
environmental factors (e.g., ambient temperature and relative humidity) or dog-related
factors (e.g., sex, bodyweight, color) are associated with the risk of heat strain. A total
of 229 greyhounds were included in over 46 race meetings and seven different race
venues in South Australia, Australia. Rectal temperatures of dogs were measured
pre- and postrace and urine samples collected for analysis of myoglobinuria. Ambient
temperature at race times ranged between 11.0 and 40.8°C and relative humidity
ranged from 17 to 92%. There was a mean increase in greyhound rectal temperature
of 2.1°C (range 1.1–3.1°C). Asmall but signicant association was present between
ambient temperature and increase in rectal temperature (r2=0.033, P=0.007). The
mean ambient temperature at race time, of dogs with postrace rectal temperature of or
exceeding 41.5°C, was signicantly greater than at race time of dogs with a postrace
rectal temperature 41.5°C (31.2 vs. 27.3°C, respectively, P=0.004). When the ambi-
ent temperature reached 38oC, over one-third (39%) of dogs had a rectal temperature
>41.5°C. Over half of postrace urine samples were positive by Dipstick reading for
hemoglobin/myoglobin, and of 77 urine samples positive for Dipstick readings, 95%
were positive for myoglobin. However, urinary myoglobin levels were not associated
with ambient temperature or postrace rectal temperatures. The mean increase in rectal
temperature was greater in dark (black, blue, brindle) than light (fawn and white) colored
greyhounds. The results suggest heat strain occurs in racing greyhounds, evidenced
by postrace rectal temperatures over 41.5°C and postrace myoglobinuria. Risk of heat
strain may be increased in higher ambient temperatures and in darker colored grey-
hounds. Further research into the incidence of heat strain in racing greyhounds, and
longer term physiological responses to heat strain, are warranted.
Keywords: greyhound, heat strain, heat stress, animal welfare, myoglobin, sport
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McNicholl et al.
Body Temperature in Racing Greyhounds
Frontiers in Veterinary Science | www.frontiersin.org June 2016 | Volume 3 | Article 53
INTRODUCTION
Regulation of body temperature is essential for maintenance of
life. Vertebrates regulate body temperature by both behavioral
and physiological means. In mammals, cutaneous thermal
sensors measure surface temperature, while core temperature
is measured in the spinal cord and areas of the brain (1, 2).
Heat stress describes the environmental or metabolic factors
impacting on the body when its thermoregulatory mechanisms
are challenged, due either to excessive ambient temperatures
or extreme heat production whereas heat strain is the result-
ant physiological or pathological eects (3). Heat stroke occurs
when the body’s heat dissipating mechanisms are overwhelmed
due to exposure to an environmental temperature exceeding
body temperature (classic or environmental heat stroke) or
when metabolic heat accumulates due to strenuous exercise
(exertional heat stroke) (4). Heat stroke entails major organ fail-
ure and is life threatening (5, 6). In climates with high ambient
temperatures, such as in Australia, heat stress and heat stroke
are potential risk factors for dogs used in work and recreation,
including the racing greyhound.
Dogs are able to maintain their temperature over a broad range
of environmental and climatic conditions. Dierent thermoneu-
tral zones have been estimated using a variety of methods and
types of dog. A range of 23–27°C has been suggested as thermo-
neutral for three mixed breed dogs with bodyweights 8.5–10.5kg
(7), while for Innuit dogs it is 25 tο 10°C (8). In greyhounds,
the thermoneutral zone has been estimated to be 16–24°C (9).
Symptoms of heat illness in dogs include panting, dry mucous
membranes, prolonged capillary rell time, ataxia, and elevated
body temperature (10, 11).
As greyhounds have been subject to intense selection for
athletic performance over several centuries (12, 13), and 60%
of the body mass is muscle (14), the large locomotor muscles
may contain high mitochondrial and capillary volumes as
found in some athletic marsupials (15). It could therefore be
expected greyhounds would generate heat at a high rate and be
particularly susceptible to exertional hyperthermia. Muscular
activity generates heat as a by-product of ATP production and
utilization. When the ambient temperature nears or exceeds
body temperature, heat can only be lost by evaporation, which
in dogs is achieved via the respiratory tract (16). During strenu-
ous exercise, the respiratory rate increases, thus facilitating heat
transfer, however, high levels of humidity may restrict the amount
of heat lost. Although the milder manifestations of heat illness
described in humans, such as heat rash and heat edema, have
not been described in dogs, more signicant symptoms such
as cramps and fatigue are commonly exhibited by greyhounds
following even short periods of strenuous exercise (17, 18). e
elevation in rectal and muscle temperature resulting from pro-
longed exercise by dogs is associated with reduced levels of high
energy phosphates (ATP and CrP) and increased levels of muscle
lactate, pyruvate, and AMP, which may contribute to fatigue (19).
Although greyhounds racing in environmental temperatures of
42°C are thought to be at risk of heat stroke (20), there has been
little research into the eects on greyhounds of running in high
ambient temperatures.
Heat stroke has been recognized for centuries, but until rela-
tively recently the mechanisms were poorly understood. Shapiro
et al. (21) was able to demonstrate, using dogs (which do not
sweat), that heat stroke was due to tissue damage resulting from
elevated body temperature and not cessation of sweating as had
been previously believed. A subsequent study in which anesthe-
tized dogs were heated to a rectal temperature of 44.5°C, revealed
increased levels of serum enzymes such as glutamic-pyruvic glu-
taminase (SGPT) and alkaline phosphatase in the terminal stages
of hyperthermia, indicative of tissue damage (22). e authors
also noted necrosis of liver and intestinal epithelium and turbid,
brown urine, indicative of impaired renal function. Current
understanding is that heat stroke involves impairment of cellular
function, denaturing of proteins (both structural and enzymatic)
and disruption of lipid membranes, similar to systemic inam-
matory response syndrome (SIRS) (23). Hyperthermia induces
intestinal ischemia and increased intestinal wall permeability,
which permits leakage of endotoxins (10, 24).
Rhabdomyolysis (muscle breakdown) may be a consequence
of both strenuous exercise (25, 26) and heat strain (27). Exercise-
induced muscle ber damage has been reported in humans (28)
and animals (2932). Following rhabdomyolysis, there is rapid
release of cell breakdown products, such as the enzymes creatine
kinase and lactate dehydrogenase; ions such as potassium and
phosphate and muscle proteins such as myoglobin (25, 33).
Muscle ber damage may be detected by the presence of myoglo-
bin in urine (myoglobinuria) (33). Myoglobin is nephrotoxic and
in humans, elevated levels of myoglobin in serum or urine are
associated with a risk of acute renal failure and subsequent mor-
tality. Myoglobinuria has been reported in greyhounds (34) but
the incidence is unknown and the levels of myoglobin excreted
have not been quantied.
Dehydration has been identied by many authors as a precur-
sor or precipitating factor for heat stroke in humans (35, 36). It
has been widely accepted that dehydration of 2–3% is a major risk
factor for heat illness and that a uid decit of as little as 1.5–2%
may have a negative eect on performance (37). A decrease in
plasma volume of 6±2% increases the rate of heat accumulation
in dogs exposed to high external heat load (38); furthermore, a
signicant elevation in rectal temperature occurs in dehydrated
versus non-dehydrated dogs exercising on a treadmill at 25°C
(39). Racing greyhounds may lose up to 6% of their bodyweight,
due to dehydration, in the prerace kenneling period (40). Such
losses might lead to increased risk of hyperthermia and increased
risk of renal damage from myoglobinuria.
Phenotypical factors, such as sex and bodyweight, may also
inuence the response of greyhounds to environmental condi-
tions. Sex-based dierences in response to elevated temperatures
and exercise occur in humans (41) and mice (42). Dierences
exist in the susceptibility of male and female rats to disrup-
tion of the sarcolemma following exercise (43), and there are
apparent protective eects of estrogen against exercise-induced
muscle damage in rats and humans (44, 45). Sex dierences in
susceptibility to exertional rhabdomyolysis in dogs have not been
reported. Body weight is also important, as the basal metabolic
rate of mammals and resultant heat production increases with
bodyweight (46). With an increase in body mass there is a
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McNicholl et al.
Body Temperature in Racing Greyhounds
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reduction in the ratio of body surface area to body mass and an
increase in the distance from core to surface: both of these factors
reduce the ability of an animal to dissipate heat and in exercising
animals, may lead to greater heat accumulation (47). Finally, coat
color is important as there is a widely held lay opinion that black
greyhounds are more stressed by high ambient temperatures than
other colored greyhounds, a belief which might be supported by
studies in other species. e white winter coats of arctic species
have greater reectivity than darker summer coats (48) and in
cattle, white coat color increases heat tolerance over brown or
black (49).
Since this study is performed in Australia, it is important to
provide some background on greyhound racing in this country.
Greyhound racing is conducted in all Australian states and ter-
ritories, each of which has a governing body, which administers
and regulates racing. e population of racing greyhounds in
South Australia is approximately 60% male and 40% female (T.
Hayles, GRSA personal communication, June 2013). Sex limited
races for greyhounds are seldom programed so the majority of
races include animals of both sexes. Greyhounds commence
racing at or above 16months of age and generally have a rac-
ing career of 18–24 months, thus racing greyhounds have a
relatively narrow age span of approximately 2–4years of age.
Five basic coat colors are recognized: black, blue (a dilute of
black which can be pale to dark gray), brindle (dark stripes over
a base color producing black brindle, blue brindle, red brindle,
dun brindle, fawn brindle, dark brindle, light brindle), fawn
(dark fawn, light fawn, red fawn, blue fawn, or dun fawn), and
dun which may range from a light blue fawn, through a rich red
fawn, to a deep rich chocolate color, with the dominating factor
being a pink to brown colored nose leather. Dun is extremely
rare. Any of these colors may be distributed over the body in
patches over a white base, and such greyhounds are described
as parti-colored.
No studies to date to our knowledge have investigated body
temperature changes in greyhounds during racing in Australia.
Furthermore, it is not known if potential risk factors, such as sex,
body weight, or coat color, may alter the risk of heat strain. e
aims of this study were to determine if:
1) body temperature increases more in greyhounds raced during
hot and during humid days;
2) body temperature is inuenced by dog sex, body weight, coat
color, or cooling vest use;
3) myoglobin is present in urine in greyhounds following racing,
and;
4) if myoglobin is present, if levels are aected by ambient tem-
perature, race distance, dogs’ level of tness, sex, body weight,
or postexercise rectal temperature.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
An observational study was commenced in 2010 to record
temperature and humidity at racing venues around South
Australia and to record body temperature changes of greyhounds
competing in races. e climate of the more populated districts
of South Australia is described as Mediterranean with cool wet
winters and hot dry summers (50). In summer, mean maximum
daily temperature for the capital city, Adelaide (Latitude 34°
50S–Longitude 138° 30E) is 29°C (51). Animal ethics approval
was provided for this study by the University of Adelaide Animal
Ethics Committee.
Ethic Statement
Owners or trainers gave informed signed consent at the racetrack
to participate in the study.
Venues
e pool of racing greyhounds in South Australia uctuates,
as dogs commence or terminate their racing careers and move
between states. Across Australia in 2011, there were 43,259 races
organized in 4068 race meetings and over $82,000,000 (AUS)
prize money was distributed: the greyhound industry had 12,280
greyhounds registered for racing for a total of 330,429 starters
(Greyhounds Australasia 2011). In South Australia, greyhound
racing is controlled by Greyhound RacingSA (GRSA) and the
industry represents over 16% of Totalizer Agency Board (TAB)
market share and distribution, which in 2010–2011 was $10m
(AUS) (52).
Racing is conducted throughout the year. At the time of com-
mencement of this study, there were eight racetrack venues, three
of which (Barmera, Port Augusta, and Virginia) did not conduct
race meetings during January and February. All racetracks with
the exception of Virginia were oval tracks. e Virginia track was
straight and only held lure coursing events. Race meetings were
conducted three times per week at both Angle Park and Gawler
but at approximately fortnightly intervals at other tracks.
On oval tracks, 7–12 races are programed per meeting and
eight greyhounds (plus two reserves) are drawn to compete in
each race. At lure coursing meetings, 6–10 events are held, each
of which include 4–32 runners drawn to run o in pairs. Winners
of each course proceed to the next round until the surviving pair
contested a nal. At the Virginia straight track, lure coursing
meetings are only held between April and October and meetings
commenced at 9.30a.m. and nished by 2p.m. At other tracks,
races are scheduled between 12 p.m. and 11 p.m. and all grey-
hounds engaged at a meeting are presented for inspection prior
to kenneling and kenneled at least 30min prior to the rst race
on the program.
Pre-kenneling inspection entails an identity check of each
greyhound by color, markings, ear tattoo, and/or microchip
number. Every greyhound is then weighed and undergoes a brief
veterinary inspection for health and racing suitability. Following
inspection, each greyhound is conned in an allocated kennel
until approximately 10min prior to its race start time. At the
Virginia racetrack, greyhounds are conned in their transport
vehicles for the duration of the meeting.
Forty-six race meetings were attended at seven dierent
venues and at dierent times of the year (Tab l e1 ). One track was
straight (Virginia), and the other six were oval with various radii
and circumferences. Two race tracks (Port Augusta and Virginia)
have grass surfaces and ve (Angle Park, Barmera, Gawler, Port
Pirie, and Strathalbyn) have sand/loam surfaces. Races were
conducted over distances of 300–731m.
TABLE 1 | Racetrack venues attended during 2011.
Track January February March April May June July August September October November December
Angle Park 1 3 2 1 1 1 4
Gawler 7 3 3 1 1 2 1 2
Strathalbyn 2 2
Barmera 1 1 1 1 1
Port Pirie 1
Port Augusta 1
Virginia 1 1
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Environmental Monitoring
Ambient conditions inside the kennel houses and trackside were
monitored with a weather station (La Crosse Technology, wireless
433-MHz Weather Station). Kennel house conditions were meas-
ured by the monitor placed approximately 1.2m above ground
level in the kennel area. Trackside conditions were measured by
the outdoor monitor placed 1.2–1.8m above ground level adja-
cent to the track, at a readily accessible location. Temperature and
relative humidity were manually recorded at the start time of each
race in which a selected greyhound was competing. Cloud cover
was recorded in oktas on a scale 0–8 on which 0=nil cloud and
8=complete cloud cover (53). Some races were conducted aer
dusk, which was recorded as 10.
Thermometers
Temperatures were measured using a rectal clinical veterinary
thermometer (Vicks Speed Read digital thermometer).
Cooling Jackets
e use of cooling jackets on greyhounds at racetracks, in tem-
peratures >30°C, has been encouraged by GRSA for over 4years
(P. Marks, personal communication, January 2014). e jackets
used during this study (Cool Champions, Silver Eagle Outtters
http://www.coolweave.com.au) were soaked in iced water for
30min prior to initial use and also between uses.
Animals
e population of racing greyhounds in South Australia is
approximately 1200 animals (G. Barber, GRSA personal com-
munication, January 2010). On the day prior to a race meet-
ing, the elds were accessed online at http://sa.thedogs.com.
au and greyhounds were selected by random draw using Excel
RANDBETWEEN function. If two greyhounds in the care of one
trainer at one meeting were selected, a draw was repeated to select
an alternative greyhound. Details of the age, sex, color, sire, dam,
and previous race history of each greyhound were recorded from
the published race elds.
For the purpose of this study, greyhounds were assigned a t-
ness score expressed in meters from 300 to 700m in 100-m incre-
ments. e tness score was based on the mode of the greyhounds
last three races or trials to the nearest 100m. From 246 races, 238
greyhounds were selected to participate in the study (134 males,
104 females) aged 18months to 5years (mean 2.6years). In the
greyhound industry, the generally accepted desirable weight
range for racing dogs is 26–34kg, for the purpose of analysis,
the greyhounds were divided by bodyweight into four groups
commonly used in the industry: <26, 26–30, >30–34, >34 kg.
Any dog in with more than 50% white coat color was classied as
white, thus creating ve color groups (Figure1). One greyhound
was selected three times, and six greyhounds were selected twice.
For the purpose of analysis, each of these greyhounds race starts
was treated as a separate data point.
Procedure
At each race meeting, approximately 30min prior to the com-
mencement of greyhound admission, a list of selected grey-
hounds was provided to the stewards and a copy was posted in a
prominent position at the kennel house entrance. As the selected
greyhounds were presented for identication checks, the trainer
was advised of the selection and permission sought for inclusion
in the study. Some trainers declined to include some of the pre-
selected greyhounds because of perceived temperamental unsuit-
ability. Each participating greyhound was weighed and then had
its temperature recorded as arrival temperature. Greyhounds
were subsequently conned in their allocated kennels (or at lure
coursing meetings, in trailers) up until approximately 10min
prior to their race start time.
Each greyhound was then collected from its allocated kennel
and had a racing vest tted, underwent identity check by stewards
and was then taken outdoors to relieve itself. Urine samples were
collected by voluntary voiding from 182 greyhounds. Rectal
temperature was then recorded (prerace temperature). Aer
completion of a race, greyhounds were collected by their handlers
and returned to the kennel house and each greyhound’s tempera-
ture was again recorded (postrace temperature). is time point
was between 2 and 3min aer greyhounds ceased to run. All
greyhounds then underwent hosing and were allowed to drink
from a hose prior to being returned to their allocated kennels.
e greyhounds, which competed in lure coursing events, were
assessed aer two courses, which were conducted at least 30min
apart, during which time the greyhounds were lightly hosed with
cold water, oered cold water to drink, and conned in well ven-
tilated trailers, thus permitting cooling. An attempt was made to
follow up each greyhound to collect a second urine sample before
the greyhound le the racetrack. Postrace urine samples were
collected from 203 greyhounds. Rectal temperature before and
aer racing was obtained for 229 dogs (131 males, 98 females).
Urinalysis
Matched pre- and postrace urine samples were collected by
voluntary voiding from 177 greyhounds, 104 males, 73 females:
FIGURE 1 | Greyhound colors: (A) black, (B) blue, (C) fawn, (D) brindle, (E) parti-colored white and brindle, (F) parti-colored white and black.
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Body Temperature in Racing Greyhounds
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(a) in the immediate prerace exercise period, and (b) as the
greyhounds were leaving the track. Postrace samples were
obtained between 30 min and 3 h aer racing, dependent on
the trainer’s schedule. Urine samples were transferred from
the collecting ladle into specimen containers immediately aer
collection and placed on ice for transport, then refrigerated up
to 12 h prior to screening. Urine samples were centrifuged at
3000rpm for 5min to remove red blood cells. Reagent strips
(Siemens Multistix 10 SG) were then immersed in the super-
natant urine and read following the manufacturer’s protocol.
Results for blood/hemoglobin are expressed as trace, 1+, 2+,
3+ (1+ equivalent to 0.030–0.065 mg/dl). e manufacturer
states the test is equally sensitive to myoglobin and hemoglobin.
Samples were then stored frozen at 20°C for up to 12months.
Subsequently, 87 urine samples (77 which tested positive for
blood/hemoglobin, 7 which tested negative and 3 unknown)
were thawed and subjected to enzyme linked immunosorbent
assay (ELISA) using Dog Myoglobin (Life Diagnostics, Inc.) and
read at 450nm (Benchmark Plus BIO-RAD).
Data Analysis
Data for the analysis of rectal temperature changes and associa-
tions with ambient temperature and humidity was analyzed with
GraphPad Prism 6. Linear regression analysis was conducted to
determine the association between shade temperature and rela-
tive humidity on rectal temperature at three time points: (a) on
arrival; (b) pre-race; and (c) postrace. Linear regression analysis
was also used to determine any association between ambient
temperature, race distance, dogs’ level of tness, bodyweight, and
postexercise body temperature and postexercise urine levels of
myoglobin. Data were inspected for normality in distribution
using the D’Agostino–Pearson test. Unpaired t-tests with Welches
correction were conducted to determine sex-based dierences in
urine myoglobin, and the eects of cooling jackets worn postrace.
Statistical analyses to analyze eects of dog sex, weight, and
color on rectal temperature changes were conducted using SPSS
version 21. Data were inspected for normality in distribution using
the D’Agostino–Pearson test. A mixed model which included the
xed eects of sex and color and covariate of weight and sire as a
random term was tted to the increase in rectal temperature and
the postrace rectal temperature data. ere was no sire variance
thus a general linear model was tted to the data with the above
xed eects and covariate. Any signicant two-way interactions
were retained in the model. A level of signicance of P<0.05 was
used throughout.
RESULTS
Environmental Conditions
Ambient (shade) temperature at each dog race start ranged from
11.0 to 40.8°C. Relative humidity ranged between 17 and 92%.
As ambient temperature increased, relative humidity decreased
(Figure2, r2=0.64, P=0.0001).
Body Temperature
Mean rectal temperature of 229 greyhounds on arrival at the race
meetings was 39.2°C±0.5°C (range 38.2–40.5°C). Postrace, there
was an increase in rectal temperature in all dogs. Mean postrace
temperature was 41.0±0.5°C (range 39.7–42.1°C) with a mean
increase of 2.1°C (SD 0.4°C, range 1.1–3.1°C; Figure3).
ere was no signicant eect of shade (ambient) temperature
on rectal temperature on arrival (r2=4.5×107, P=0.99). Postrace
there was a small but signicant relationship between shade tem-
perature and both rectal temperature (r2=0.023, P=0.03) and
increase in rectal temperature (r2=0.033, P=0.007; Figure4).
A signicant inverse relationship between prerace rectal tem-
perature and the increase in rectal temperature aer racing was
determined (r2=0.15, P=0.001).
FIGURE 3 | Increase in rectal temperature from pre- to postrace in
229 greyhounds.
FIGURE 2 | Relationship between ambient temperature and relative
humidity recorded at racetracks (r2=0.64, p=0.0001).
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McNicholl et al.
Body Temperature in Racing Greyhounds
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Effect of Relative Humidity
ere was no signicant association between relative humidity
and postrace rectal temperature (r2=0.02, P=0.06).
Effect of Race Distance
No association between race distances and levels of postrace
rectal temperature was found (r2=0.004, P=0.4).
Effect of Dog Fitness
No association was detected between dogs’ levels of tness and
levels of postrace rectal temperatures (r2=0.001, P=0.7).
Cooling Jackets
Dogs that wore cooling jackets (N=41) had a signicantly higher
rectal temperature postrace compared to those that did not
(N=80; mean 41.19±SEM 0.06°C versus 41.01±SEM 0.06°C,
respectively, P=0.04; unpaired t-test with Welch’s correction).
Critical Temperatures
As 41.5°C has been suggested as a critical body temperature for
precipitating heat illness in dogs (11, 54), animals were allocated
into two groups using a postrace rectal temperature delimiter of
>41.5°C. e mean ambient temperature at race time of dogs with
postrace rectal temperature >41.5°C was signicantly greater
(31.2°C±SEM 1.0°C, N=40) than at race time of dogs record-
ing a rectal temperature 41.5 (27.3°C±SEM 0.5°C, N=189,
unpaired t-test, t=2.9, df=227, P=0.004).
e percentage of greyhounds with postrace rectal tem-
peratures of >41.5°C was plotted against ambient temperature
(Figure 5). When the ambient temperature was 38°C, 39% of
dogs had a rectal temperature of >41.5°C.
Urinalysis
In both males and females, over half (100/177, 57%) of postrace
urine samples provided positive dipstick readings for hemo-
globin/myoglobin (Tables 2 and 3). ere were more positive
dipstick results for males versus females.
Myoglobin levels detected in postrace urine samples ranged
from 3 to 402 ng/ml (mean 93.3 ± 8.6 ng/ml). A signicant
association between dog bodyweight and myoglobin levels was
detected (r2=0.05, P=0.05). As variances of male and female
myoglobin levels diered (P=0.0003) an unpaired t-test with
Welches correction was conducted. A signicant dierence
in myoglobin levels between males and females was detected
(male 73.17±SEM 7.76ng/ml, female 128.20±SEM 20.15ng/
ml, P=0.01). Linear regression analysis showed no signicant
associations between urinary myoglobin levels and ambient
temperature, race distance, level of tness, or postrace rectal
temperature.
Effect of Greyhound Color
e most common coat color of the included greyhounds was
black (N= 115), followed by white (N= 37), with similar
numbers of blue (N= 23), Brindle (N= 28), and Fawn
(N=26) colors. ere was no signicant dierence in arrival
or prerace rectal temperature of the ve color groups (P=0.5).
However, mean postrace temperatures of the black, blue, and
brindle greyhounds were 41.1 ± 0.4°C, 41.1 ± 0.5°C, and
41.1±0.4°C, respectively, which were signicantly higher than
the fawn (40.9±0.5°C) and white (40.8±0.5°C; all P<0.05)
greyhounds. When the dogs were grouped into dark (black,
blue, brindle) and light (fawn and white), the mean increase
in temperature of the dark-colored dogs (2.2 ± 0.4°C) was
signicantly greater than the mean increase in temperature
of the light-colored dogs (2.0 ± 0.4°C, P= 0.005). Postrace
rectal temperatures of greyhounds racing in fully overcast/
dark conditions (N=31), or sunlight (N=131) showed no
signicant dierence (P=0.5).
Effect of Sex
ere was no signicant sex-related dierence in arrival rectal
temperature for 128 males and 101 females (P=0.897). Prerace
temperatures for males (N= 132) and females (N= 100) also
did not dier (38.9 ± 0.5°C versus 38.8°± 0.3°C respectively,
P=0.46). A signicant dierence was found in postrace rectal
temperature of male (N=131) and female (N=98) greyhounds
(P=0.004). Mean male postrace temperature was 41.1±0.5°C,
and mean female postrace temperature was 40.9±0.4°C.
TABLE 3 | Myoglobin results from 87 greyhound urine samples.
Dipstick test result Positive
myoglobina
Negative
myoglobin
Positive blood/hemoglobin 77 73 (95%) 4 (5%)
Negative blood/hemoglobin 7 3 (43%) 4 (57%)
Unknown blood/hemoglobin 3 2 (67%) 1 (33%)
aThe lowest positive value was 5.8ng/ml.
TABLE 2 | Results of dipstick test for blood, hemoglobin, or myoglobin in
postrace urine samples.
Screened Total positive
hemoglobin
26ng/ml
hemoglobin
Male 104 70 (67%) 47 (45%)
Female 73 30 (41%) 24 (33%)
FIGURE 5 | Relationship between ambient temperature and the
percentage of greyhounds with postrace rectal temperature >41.5°C.
FIGURE 4 | Relationship between ambient temperature and: (A) postrace rectal temperature and (B) increase in rectal temperature.
TABLE 4 | Sex distribution in four body weight groups of selected
greyhounds.
<26kg 26–30kg >30–34kg >34kg
Male Female Male Female Male Female Male Female
Number
ofdogs
0 23 10 68 82 7 39 0
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Effect of Bodyweight
In the greyhound industry, the generally accepted desirable weight
range for racing dogs is 26–34kg: 73% of the selected greyhounds
were within this range. e mean bodyweight was 30.2±3.4kg.
Mean male bodyweight was 32.5kg (median 32.0kg), and mean
female bodyweight was 27.2kg (median 27.0kg). ere were no
males in the <26kg weight group, and no females in the >34kg
weight group (Table4).
A signicant eect of bodyweight was noted on both actual
rectal temperature (r2= 0.043, P= 0.009) and the increase
in rectal temperature (r2=0.05, P=0.006) following racing
(Figure6).
DISCUSSION
e aims of the current study were to determine the body temper-
ature responses to racing in greyhounds in South Australia. e
study was designed to determine changes in rectal temperature
following racing, and if any associations were present between
increase in rectal temperature and environment factors, such
as ambient temperature and relative humidity, and dog-related
factors, such as sex, bodyweight, and color. Urinary myoglobin
was measured postrace to determine if any pathological changes
occurred and were related to heat strain.
In the current study, greyhounds competed in temperatures
between 11 and 40°C. e mean increase in rectal temperature
of 2.1°C was remarkable in view of the short duration of the
periods of exercise. Although, as greyhounds expend almost as
much energy in the rst 7.5 s of a race as in the subsequent
22 s (55), it is not surprising that body temperature increases
markedly in a short period of time. Although dierences of
up to 2°C between muscle and rectal temperatures have been
measured in horses aer 50-min exercise (56), the dierence
was less than 1°C aer 10 min exercise as completed by the
greyhounds in this study. Indeed in dogs, postexercise rectal
temperatures higher than core temperature may result from
the heat generated by the major muscles of the hind quarters
(57). Most of the studies on hyperthermia in human and equine
FIGURE 6 | Relationship between bodyweight and (A) postrace rectal temperature (r2=0.043, P=0.009) and (B) increase in rectal temperature
(r2=0.05, P=0.006) after racing.
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athletes have focused on hyperthermia as a result of prolonged
periods of exercise. However, Drobatz and Macintyre (58) in
their review of 42clinical cases of heatstroke in dogs, remarked
on the degree of morbidity aer relatively short (20–30min)
periods of exercise, suggesting a high degree of susceptibility for
dogs, compared to other species. As heat storage has been shown
to be the principle limiting factor to intense exercise in cheetahs
(59), it is probable that heat storage might similarly be a limiting
factor to sprinting performance in greyhounds.
In the current study, the period of strenuous exercise was
between 15 and 45s for distances from 300 to 730m. Additional
activity was low intensity and was restricted to a total period of
<15min during which greyhounds were removed from holding
kennels, approximately 10 min prior to scheduled race start
time and walked to the starting boxes, 2min prior to the race.
Greyhounds exhibited varying levels of excitement in the prerace
period, demonstrated by ne tremors or vigorous activity such
as pulling or bouncing. e muscular activity involved in such
behavior would generate heat and may have contributed to the
increases in rectal temperature recorded. Greyhounds, bred and
trained for racing, may develop an increase in rectal temperature
(from resting levels) due to anticipation of activity (60). e nega-
tive association between prerace rectal temperature and increase
in rectal temperature found in the current study illustrates the
eectiveness of the thermoregulatory system, even under signi-
cant challenge.
Environmental Conditions
andBodyTemperature
e current study revealed a small but positive association between
ambient temperature and postexercise body temperature. ese
ndings are in accord with those of Bjotvedt et al. (20) where
greyhounds performing in temperatures above 107°F (42.0°C)
were at risk of heat stroke. Although intense exercise is generally
estimated to cause an increase in metabolic rate of 10–14 times
the basal metabolic rate (61), increases in metabolic rate of up
to 25 times BMR have been recorded in some canine species (8,
62). Dissipation of the heat generated may pose a particular chal-
lenge. Susceptibility to heat illness may vary between breeds of
dog as ambient temperature has not been shown to aect rectal
temperature in exercising Labrador retrievers (63), although the
Labradors were only exercised in a temperature range of 11–28°C.
In contrast, a signicant association between ambient tempera-
ture and rectal temperatures is present in sled dogs working in
ambient temperatures between 9 and 25°C (64).
No signicant eect of relative humidity on rectal temperature
was demonstrated in the current study. However, as the climate
of South Australia is described as Mediterranean (50), with an
inverse relationship between temperature and humidity, days
with concurrent elevation of both factors are rare. In areas with
a tropical climate, humidity might impose greater challenges. In
exercising horses, the rate of increase in temperature of blood,
measured in the pulmonary artery, is signicantly higher in hot,
humid conditions than in either hot or cold, dry conditions (65).
It may be concluded that racing, or undertaking equivalent
intense exercise, in hot weather carries an increased risk of
greyhounds developing heat illness. e risk increases notably
in ambient temperatures 38°C. However, under current
management systems in South Australia, no racing greyhounds
were found to suer from heat stroke. e greyhound racing
industry in Australia has a number of “Heat” or “Hot Weather”
policies, which vary between states and lack a consistent thresh-
old temperature. It would be prudent to set the threshold for
“Hot Weather Policies” at 38°C, at which temperature, changes
to race programing should be made and stringent management
procedures be implemented for greyhounds participating in
races or trials.
Critical Temperature
Many authors consider a rectal temperature 41.5°C to be a criti-
cal level for initiation of heat illness in dogs (11, 54, 58, 66, 67).
During the current study, 45 greyhounds recorded a postrace
rectal temperature >41.5°C which if not reduced, would place
them at risk of heat illness. e mean ambient temperature at
the time of these races was 31.2°C, which was 4°C greater than
the mean ambient temperature at race time for greyhounds
recording a rectal temperature <41.5°C. erefore, 31°C might
represent a threshold for risk estimation for heat stress in racing
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McNicholl et al.
Body Temperature in Racing Greyhounds
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greyhounds. Such a threshold might be broadly accepted by
participants in the greyhound racing industry, as there is a com-
mon perception amongst trainers of greyhounds that, at ambient
temperatures >30°C, the animals show signs of thermal stress
such as panting, which concurs with evidence from experimental
settings (68). However, as in South Australia there are more than
80days in summer with maximum daily temperature >30°C (51)
setting 31°C as a threshold for canceling race meetings would
represent major disruption to the industry. It has been suggested
36°C is the temperature at which thermal equilibrium can only
just be maintained by dogs (69). In the current study, the per-
centage of greyhounds recording postrace rectal temperatures of
41.5° increased in gradual linear fashion up to 36°C and with
a sharp rise when ambient temperatures reached 38°C. As 38°C
is within the normal range of body temperature for dogs, the
sharp increase in the number of greyhounds with temperature
>41.5°C when ambient temperatures neared 38°C is in accord
with the widely accepted view that, in environments at or above
body temperature, thermoregulation is dicult.
Cooling Jackets
e use of cooling jackets on greyhounds at racetracks has
been fairly limited. During the current study, there appeared to
be reluctance by some trainers to use them, either because of a
belief that they were uncomfortable for the dogs or because of a
perception the time taken to don the jackets was wasted. Results
of this study revealed the unexpected nding that the mean rectal
temperature of dogs wearing jackets postrace was slightly higher
than those dogs which did not. Cooling jackets of a dierent
type have been demonstrated to be eective in reducing the
duration of postexercise hyperthermia in military dogs (70). Pre-
competition use of ice jackets has been eective in reducing the
degree of body heating in human athletes (71), but postexercise
use of ice jackets is not advantageous in hyperthermic athletes
(72). Further research into their use in greyhounds during hot
conditions is warranted.
Alternative methods of estimating thermal stress in racing
greyhounds might include panting score such as used for sheep
(73) and cattle (49). However, in dogs panting is utilized not only
to maintain homeothermy (74) but also as a result of exercise
(19,75), arousal (60), or anxiety (76). As this study was conducted
at racetracks, all of the above factors could have inuenced pant-
ing rate, and it was not practical to utilize panting rate as an
indicator of heat stress.
Urinalysis
Rhabdomyolysis has been recorded as a result of strenuous
exercise in greyhounds (77, 78) and rhabdomyolysis may also
result from hyperthermia (79). It could therefore be expected
that greyhounds undertaking strenuous exercise in hot condi-
tions would be at increased risk of developing rhabdomyolysis
and myoglobinuria. Myoglobin is a small heme protein, which
is released into plasma aer muscle ber rupture; plasma levels
fall rapidly, as it is excreted into urine (79). As myoglobin
is recognized as being nephrotoxic (33), it is possible that
repeated exposure to signicant levels would have a cumula-
tive eect and that such exposure might contribute to the
high incidence of renal disease seen in greyhounds (D. Fegan,
personal communication, 2013).
Effect of Phenotypic Factors
is study showed that postexercise temperature was inuenced
by several phenotypic factors. A signicant though weak rela-
tionship was found between bodyweight and postexercise rectal
temperature and also between bodyweight and the increase in
rectal temperature. Coat color was also found to have a signi-
cant association with postexercise temperature, with greyhounds
of dark colors developing higher rectal temperatures than light
colored greyhounds. Many greyhound trainers believe that black
greyhounds are more susceptible to heat stress than other colored
dogs, as the trainers can feel temperature dierences on the sur-
face of their greyhounds. e nding that dark colored (black,
blue, brindle) greyhounds develop higher temperatures than
light colored (fawn and predominantly white) greyhounds is in
keeping with ndings in other species. ree naturally occurring
color morphs of antelope have dierences in core temperature
(80) and McManus et al. (82) who examined the tolerance of
dierent breeds and colors of sheep, to heat stress in Brazil,
concluded that breed, coat type (wool/hair) and coat color were
important modiers. A number of studies of production animals
have revealed that, under heat stress, white coated animals can
maintain lower body temperatures than dark colored conspecif-
ics and that coat color inuences heat tolerance (81, 82). is
has been attributed to the greater reectivity of the white coats,
leading to less heat accumulation. In the current study, it was
anticipated that dark coated greyhounds, racing in sunlight, might
develop higher body temperatures than those racing in shaded
or dark conditions, however no signicant eect of sunlight was
detected. It seems therefore, that direct solar radiation was not a
signicant contributor to the temperatures recorded. However,
thermal radiation from the track surface and surroundings may
have contributed to the higher temperatures recorded in dark
coated dogs.
Sex
No signicant dierences between sexes were recorded for
rectal temperatures either on arrival or prerace. However,
males had higher postrace and mean increases in rectal
temperature than females. Sex based dierences in body
temperature could be a result of sex hormones, body propor-
tions, or thermoregulatory mechanisms. Gender dierences
in response to thermal and exercise challenges have been
reported in humans (41, 83). e principle mechanism of heat
loss in humans is sweating and considerable eorts have been
directed at examining dierences in sweating and sudomotor
responses (84, 85). However, as sweating is not utilized as a
heat loss mechanism in canines, it is not valid to attempt to
extrapolate from such studies. e inuence of estrogen and
progesterone on core temperature during the menstrual cycle
of women has long been recognized (86). Complex interactions
between norepinephrine and estrogen occur in the brain of
women, whereby estrogen raises the sweating threshold and
norepinephrine narrows the thermoneutral zone by initiating
heat dissipation (87). Hanada et al. (42) identied receptor
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McNicholl et al.
Body Temperature in Racing Greyhounds
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activator of necrosis factor kB ligand (RANKL) and its tumor
necrosis factor receptor (RANK) as key factors of central
control of thermoregulation in female but not male mice and
suggested that, in murine species, female thermoregulation is,
in part, regulated by ovarian sex hormones (42).
e higher levels of myoglobinuria found in female grey-
hounds was unexpected, as it has been reported that female
animals suer less muscle damage than males (88). However,
female horses are reported to be more frequently aected by
exertional rhabdomyolysis than males (89, 90). Female rats
are less susceptible to exercise-induced muscle damage than
males (43, 91), likely due to a protective eect of estrogen (92).
However, similar protection is unlikely to have occurred in
greyhounds during the current study as testosterone proprionate
was permitted to prevent estrous in female greyhounds at that
time (93). In Australia, female greyhounds are not permitted
to race whilst in estrous or for 28days post estrous (93) and
reduced performance in the diestrous period of up to 91days has
been reported (94). erefore, racing female greyhounds can be
assumed to be in late diestrous or anestrous with relatively low
levels of circulating estrogen and progesterone (95). Alternatively,
there may be a species related dierence in response to exercise
or even a breed specic response, as greyhounds exhibit other
physiological and hematological variations from other breeds of
dog (9698). During the current study, no data were collected
on the use of testosterone or other permitted hormones nor on
the natural hormonal status of the females, so further studies
on the responses to exercise of male and female greyhounds are
required.
Bodyweight
Many of the studies on thermoregulation and exercise in humans
have investigated the dierences, which might be attributable
to anthropometric features such as body proportions and fat
distribution (69, 99, 100). Lean animals may dissipate heat more
readily than obese animals, as in the latter, sub-cutaneous fat
impedes heat transfer to the environment (101). However, during
exercise, both muscle and core temperature increase more in lean
than obese rats (102). Almost all of the greyhounds in this study
had a body condition score of 2 and variations in body fat are
unlikely to have aected the results.
e positive associations between bodyweight and both
postrace and increase in rectal temperature may be attributed
to the amount of energy utilized during activity. As the energy
requirements to move a body increase with an increase in
bodyweight (103), metabolic heat production also rises. In both
birds and mammals, the energetic cost of exercise is related to
both body mass and speed (104, 105). In humans, metabolic heat
production resultant from muscle contraction creates an internal
heat load proportional to exercise intensity (106, 107). Although
the periods of exercise of the greyhounds were limited to <45s at
maximum eort, as greyhounds have a high proportion of muscle
(14) and the rate of heat accumulation in muscle increases with
intensity of work (47), it is apparent that greyhounds exercising
at maximum eort generate a very high heat load. In a recent
study, rats selected for high capacity running, exhibited high
levels of energy expenditure and muscle heat dissipation (108).
e authors suggested that these eects might be due to intrinsic
aerobic capacity and that similar expression of skeletal muscle
proteins might be found in other species. Greyhound muscle
exhibits a high rate of anaerobic glycogenolysis (109); further
research is warranted in the area of greyhound muscle energetics
and heat production.
CONCLUSION
It may be concluded that racing, or undertaking equivalent
intense exercise, in hot weather carries an increased risk of
greyhounds developing heat illness. e risk increases notably
in ambient temperatures 38°C. Large, dark-colored greyhounds
are at greater risk of developing high body temperature than
small, light-colored greyhounds, when undertaking strenuous
exercise in hot conditions. Pre- and postexercise cooling should
therefore be applied with particular care to large black, blue,
or brindle greyhounds to prevent development of heat strain.
e greyhound racing industry in Australia has a number of
“Heat” or “Hot Weather” policies which vary between states and
lack a consistent threshold temperature. It would therefore be
prudent to set the threshold for “Hot Weather Policies” at 38°C,
at which temperature, changes to race programing should be
made and stringent management procedures be implemented
for greyhounds participating in races or trials. Further research
is required to investigate environmental eects on greyhounds
racing in tropical climates.
AUTHOR CONTRIBUTIONS
JM was responsible for conception and design of the work, the
acquisition, analysis and interpretation of data, draing and
revising, and gave nal approval for it to be published. GH was
responsible for help in interpretation of data and revising, and
gave nal approval for it to be published. SH assisted in the
conception and design of the work, the acquisition, analysis
and interpretation of data, draing and revising, and gave nal
approval for it to be published. All authors agree to be accountable
for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to
the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately
investigated and resolved.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
e authors would like to acknowledge the assistance of the rac-
ing tracks in permitting the study to be performed, and all of the
greyhound owners and trainers who agreed for their greyhounds
to be included in the study.
FUNDING
Financial support for this PhD project was provided by
Greyhound Racing South Australia and the Austra lian Greyhound
Veterinarians Special Interest Group of the Australian Greyhound
Veterinary Association.
11
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Conict of Interest Statement: Funding for this study was provided by Greyhound
Racing South Australia and JM is employed as a racetrack veterinarian for grey-
hound races in South Australia. e authors believe that neither of these perceived
conicts inuenced the design, analysis and interpretation of the data presented.
Copyright © 2016 McNicholl, Howarth and Hazel. is is an open-access article
distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CCBY).
e use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the
original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in
this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use,
distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
... Heat regulation problems are reported to affect around a third of brachycephalic dogs [17] and obesity has been reported as a significant risk factor for death in dogs presenting with HRI [18]. Reflecting the male predisposition to exertional HRI in humans, male dogs develop a significantly higher body temperature than females during intense exercise [19,20]. Both dogs trained for military work (e.g., Belgian Malinois) and active playful dogs (e.g., Golden Retriever and Labrador Retriever) have been reported to be at increased risk of exertional HRI [18], however, that study included only patients referred for specialist care and therefore may not represent the wider canine population. ...
... These findings mirror the human risk factors of exertional HRI, with young male athletes and labourers most likely to be affected [45]. Entire female dogs could have reduced odds for exertional HRI due to their relatively lower bodyweights compared to male and neutered animals [19], or, it could reflect reduced exercise levels during reproductive periods such as pregnancy and lactation. Dogs at or above the mean adult bodyweight for their breed/sex showed an increased risk of exertional HRI compared to dogs below the mean bodyweight, and all dogs weighing 10 kg or over had increased odds of exertional HRI compared to dogs weighing under 10 kg. ...
... Small breeds of dog are reported to have decreased risk of HRI [18], dogs with greater body mass have been reported to develop higher post exercise body temperatures [19]. ...
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... This has threatened the ongoing public acceptance of the industry's standard practices and its social license to operate. The science of greyhound welfare is an area of growing interest, with a focus on stress associated with the race and race meet protocols [1][2][3][4]. Stress can compromise an animal's optimal state of homeostasis and wellbeing [5]. Shifts in the animal's ability to cope may manifest as a behavioural, physiological or psychological response to an external or internal stimulus [5]. ...
... The effects of stressors on affective state vary in their valence (from pleasant to unpleasant) and with the animal's current level of arousal (from deactivated to activated). There is evidence that greyhounds exhibit signs of physiological stress and arousal during a race meet [1][2][3], with arousal ranging from calm to alert, or excited [7,8]. Best practice in housing and managing greyhounds during a race meet should include optimising arousal and affective state at the time of maximal exertion, as well as the early detection and mitigation of stress. ...
... Along with stressors associated with the race meet, there are other environmental and biological factors that could influence the IRT measurements and must be considered when assessing stress and arousal [32,33]. Ambient temperature and humidity could be sources of stress during a race, as these factors can compromise an animal's ability to thermoregulate [2,34,35]. A previous greyhound study found that rectal temperature (RT) increased during high ambient temperatures [2]. ...
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... Such an increase in skin temperature potentially changes the dynamics of heat transfer, resulting in decreased heat loss and possibly a heat gain (Otani et al., 2021). Animals with darker coloured hair coats may also be more susceptible to radiative heat gains than those with lighter colours (McNicholl et al., 2016;Walsberg et al., 1978). ...
... Since that time the WBGT has received widespread acceptance, been used during military, occupational, industrial and sporting activities and incorporated into heat policy recommendations by many high-profile human sporting organisations (Armstrong et al., 2017;Racinais et al., 2015). It has also been used for equestrian competitions (Jeffcott & Kohn, 1999;Jeffcott et al., 2009;Schroter et al., 1996) and forms part of heat policy guidelines for Thoroughbred, Standardbred and greyhound racing worldwide (McNicholl et al., 2016). The WBGT is an empirical index based on three measurements, the dry bulb temperature, the natural wetbulb temperature and the black-globe temperature. ...
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... In our study, we observed that even in dogs running in the thermoneutral zone with temperatures below 20 • C, rectal temperature can rise up to 41.7 • C ( Table 1). The increase in rectal temperature in participating dogs ranged from 0.1 to 3.0 • C, which is similar to results reported by McNicholl and colleagues (83) and Carter and Hall (7) where the mean increase in body temperature was 2.1 • C (rectal temperature) and 1.8 • C (tympanic membrane temperature), respectively, and was significantly related to ambient temperature. Similarly, as in the study by Carter and Hall (7), all dogs in our study returned to a normal body temperature soon after the cessation of exercise, which suggests that appropriate cooling mechanisms preventing prolonged hyperthermia are likely in place in these dogs. ...
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The extreme physical endurance demands and varied environmental settings of marathon footraces have provided a unique opportunity to study the limits of human thermoregulation for more than a century. High post-race rectal temperatures (Tre) are commonly and consistently documented in marathon runners, yet a clear divergence of thought surrounds the cause for this observation. A close examination of the literature reveals that this phenomenon is commonly attributed to either biological (dehydration, metabolic rate, gender) or environmental factors. Marathon climatic conditions vary as much as their course topography and can change considerably from year to year and even from start to finish in the same race. The fact that climate can significantly limit temperature regulation and performance is evident from the direct relationship between heat casualties and Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT), as well as the inverse relationship between record setting race performances and ambient temperatures. However, the usual range of compensable racing environments actually appears to play more of an indirect role in predicting Tre by acting to modulate heat loss and fluid balance. The importance of fluid balance in thermoregulation is well established. Dehydration-mediated perturbations in blood volume and blood flow can compromise exercise heat loss and increase thermal strain. Although progressive dehydration reduces heat dissipation and increases Tre during exercise, the loss of plasma volume contributing to this effect is not always observed for prolonged running and may therefore complicate the predictive influence of dehydration on Tre for marathon running. Metabolic heat production consequent to muscle contraction creates an internal heat load proportional to exercise intensity. The correlation between running speed and Tre, especially over the final stages of a marathon event, is often significant but fails to reliably explain more than a fraction of the variability in post-marathon Tre. Additionally, the submaximal exercise intensities observed throughout 42km races suggest the need for other synergistic factors or circumstances in explaining this occurrence There is a paucity of research on women marathon runners. Some biological determinants of exercise thermoregulation, including body mass, surface area-to mass ratio, sweat rate, and menstrual cycle phase are gender-discrete variables with the potential to alter the exercise-thermoregulatory response to different environments, fluid intake, and exercise metabolism. However, these gender differences appear to be more quantitative than qualitative for most marathon road racing environments.
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Exertional heat-related illness (EHRI) is comprised of several states that afflict physically active persons when exercising during conditions of high environmental heat stress. Certain forms of EHRI may become life threatening if not treated. Exertional heat stroke (EHS), characterized by a core body temperature of >40 ° C and mental status changes, is the most severe form of EHRI. EHS must be treated immediately with rapid body cooling to reduce morbidity and mortality. Many EHRI cases are preventable by following heat acclimatization guidelines, modifying sports and exercise sessions during conditions of high environmental heat stress, maintaining adequate hydration, avoiding exertion in the heat when ill, and by educating sports medicine personnel, coaches, parents, and athletes on the early recognition and prevention of EHRI. Heat exhaustion, exercise-associated collapse, exercise-associated muscle cramps, exercise-associated hyponatremia, and exertional rhabdomyolysis are also described.