New Zealand Dog News

Reviewing the dog news in New Zealand with editors comments. Someone needs to keep reviewing how our dogs are doing in society.

May 07, 2008

Researchers Seek to Demystify the Metabolic Magic of Sled Dogs

When humans engage in highly strenuous exercise day after day, they start to metabolize the body’s reserves, depleting glycogen and fat stores. When cells run out of energy, a result is fatigue, and exercise grinds to a halt until those sources are replenished.

Dogs are different, in particular the sled dogs that run the annual Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Alaska. This is a grueling 1,100-mile race, and studies show that the dogs somehow change their metabolism during the race.

Dr. Michael S. Davis, an associate professor of veterinary physiology at Oklahoma State University and an animal exercise researcher, said: “Before the race, the dogs’ metabolic makeup is similar to humans. Then suddenly they throw a switch — we don’t know what it is yet — that reverses all of that. In a 24-hour period, they go back to the same type of metabolic baseline you see in resting subjects. But it’s while they are running 100 miles a day.”


“They have a hidden strategy that they can turn on,” he said. “We are confident that humans have the capacity for that strategy. We have to figure out how dogs are turning it on to turn it on in humans.”



  • At 1:39 p.m., Blogger Sled Dog Action Coalition said…

    Many mushers have reported that their dogs lose a lot of weight racing in the Iditarod. The dogs aren't "fatigue-proof" and often get worn out by racing. Their copper enzymes get depleted, which leads to anemia and fatigue. For the facts, visit the Sled Dog Action Coalition website,


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