• Canine;
  • Endurance;
  • Globulin;
  • IgG

Background: Serum immunoglobulin dynamics have not been studied in racing sled dogs, despite hypoglobulinemia having been reported during racing events.

Hypothesis/Objectives: Hypoglobulinemia in racing sled dogs is associated with decreases in serum IgA, IgE, IgG, and IgM concentrations during prolonged exercise.

Animals: One hundred and fifty-seven Alaskan sled dogs that successfully completed a 1,000 mile race.

Methods: Serum was obtained from 118 sled dogs within 1 month before the race and within 12 hours after completing the race. Serum also was obtained after 4 months of rest from 51 dogs that successfully completed the race, including 12 previously sampled dogs. Serum total protein ([TP]), albumin, and globulin ([Gl]) were measured, and serum IgA, IgE, IgG, and IgM were quantified by ELISA.

Results: The proportion of dogs with [Gl] ≤ 2.2 g/dL was significantly greater immediately after racing (38 of 118 dogs, 32.2%) than before racing (21 of 118 dogs, 17.8%, P= .005). Four months after racing, [Gl] was ≤ 2.2 g/dL in 23.5% (12 of 51) of dogs. [IgG] was significantly lower before (8.21 ± 4.95 mg/mL) and immediately after (7.97 ± 5.62) racing compared with 4 months after racing (18.88 ± 5.76). Serum [IgM] and [IgE] were higher and [IgA] was lower before racing compared with immediately after racing.

Conclusions and Clinical Importance: Sled dogs participating in long-distance racing have substantial decreases in [IgG] in addition to decreases in [IgM] and [IgE]. The pronounced hypogammaglobulinemia observed in a large proportion of racing sled dogs might predispose them to infectious disease.