Ten healthy Labrador retrievers undergoing professional training were studied. The ambient temperature reached 86° F during the sampling periods. Measurements, taken both at baseline and within 5 minutes after the dogs had retrieved birds on land and water, included rectal temperature, pulse rate, respiratory rate, blood gas and biochemical analysis, and CBC. Compared with baseline, the postexercise measurements showed significant increases in rectal temperature, pulse rate, respiratory rate, chloride, lactate, and pH. Decreases were seen in BUN, sodium, potassium, PCO2, and TCO2.

Key Point: This study suggests that healthy, well-conditioned Labrador retrievers can experience hyperthermia, respiratory alkalosis, and mild metabolic acidosis during field trial competitions. What effect these changes have on performance is not known. This study provides a baseline for evaluation of dogs with poor performance or exercise intolerance.

Physiologic responses in healthy Labrador retrievers during the field trial training and competition. Steiss J, Ahmad HA, Cooper C, Ledford C. J Vet Intern Med 18:147-151, 2004.