Published online by Cambridge University Press: 09 March 2007
The present study characterized the fluid and electrolyte shifts that occur in Standardbred racehorses during recovery from high-intensity exercise. Jugular venous blood was sampled from 13 Standardbreds in racing condition, at rest and for 2 h following a high-intensity training workout. Total body water (TBW), extracellular fluid volume (ECFV) and plasma volume (PV) were measured at rest using indicator dilution techniques (D2O, thiocyanate and Evans Blue, respectively). Changes in TBW were assessed from measures of body mass, and changes in PV and ECFV were calculated from changes in plasma protein concentration. Exercise resulted in a 26.9% decrease in PV. At 10 min of recovery TBW and ECFV were decreased by 2.2% and 16.5% respectively, while intracellular fluid volume was increased by 7.1%. There was a continued loss of fluid due to sweating throughout the recovery period such that TBW was decreased by 3.9% at 90 min of recovery. This decrease in TBW was nearly equally partitioned between the extracellular and intracellular fluid compartments. Plasma Na+ and Cl− contents were decreased at 1 min of recovery, but not different from rest by 40 min of recovery. Plasma K+ content at 1 min post exercise was not different from the pre-exercise value; however, by 5 min of recovery K+ content was significantly decreased and it remained decreased throughout the recovery period. It is concluded that there are very rapid and large fluid and electrolyte shifts between body compartments during and after high-intensity exercise, and that full recovery of these shifts requires 90–120 min.