Effect of exercise on gastric health in field retrievers

Michael Davis, MD Willard, Michael Day, J McCann, ME Payton, SL Cummings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


Exercise-induced gastrointestinal disease (EIGD) has been reported in all domestic athletes. In dogs and humans, EIGD is most commonly associated with ultra-endurance racing sled dogs and marathon/triathlon competitors, respectively, suggesting that the syndrome is specifically a function of prolonged exercise. However, EIGD is also common in horses that exercise for brief periods, and more recently, EIGD has been identified in Labrador retrievers that perform off-leash explosive detection patrols. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that EIGD could be induced in retrievers performing competition-style retrieves. Gastric endoscopy and histopathological examination of gastric biopsies were performed on 10 healthy retrievers before and 24 h after a series of multi-set retrieves totalling over 5 km. Although the exercise challenge resulted in a small but statistically significant increase in gastric endoscopy severity score, it did not result in a higher prevalence of clinically-significant gastric disease or changes in gastric histopathology. We conclude that competitive retrieving is unlikely to induce clinically-significant gastric disease in healthy dogs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-39
Number of pages5
JournalComparative Exercise Physiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 14 Mar 2016


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