Effect of Marcha Exercise on Serum Electrolytes and Acid–Base Balance in Mangalarga Marchador Horses

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Abstract

The marcha competition is a functional evaluation, without similar in the world. In this competition, the animals perform marcha at average speed between 9 and 12 km/hr for 50 minutes, covering roughly 6 to 7 km with no rest. The aim of this study was to evaluate and compare the effect of batida gait competition on acid–base balance in Mangalarga Marchador horses during an official marcha competition. The study was conducted on 24 Mangalarga Marchador horses, 12 stallions, and 12 mares (aged 4–6 years and 399 ± 45 kg of body weight). Venous blood samples were collected before and after competition. Blood samples were analyzed for acid–base balance, as well as biochemical and electrolyte parameters. In stallions, a significant (P < .05) postexercise increase in pH, partial pressure of oxygen, bicarbonate concentration, base excess, and glucose was noted. Decrease (P < .05) in pCO2 (partial pressure of carbon dioxide), chloride and ionized calcium were observed after exercise only in stallions. No changes (P > .05) in hematocrit, hemoglobin, sodium, and potassium were observed after exercise in all animals. The changes in the acid–base balance and electrolyte profile of the Mangalarga Marchador stallions after marcha competition resulted in hypochloremic metabolic alkalosis. Marcha competition did not cause acid–base disturbance in mares. This study enables an evaluation and comparison of physical effort caused by the marcha exercise on acid–base balance in Mangalarga Marchador horses and provides further evidence of the existence of gender differences in sports horses.

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