The effect of dietary protein level on exercising horses.

P. A. Miller, L. M. Lawrence

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28 Scopus citations


Six mature Quarter Horse mares were used in a crossover design to assess the effect of dietary protein level on metabolic response to exercise. After a 2-wk adaptation period to either a 12.9% (control) or an 18.5% CP (high-protein) diet, each mare performed a standard exercise test. The test consisted of a 15-min exercise period at 4.5 m/sec on a 9% grade motorized treadmill. Exercise resulted in an increase in heart rate (P less than .001), but there was no difference (P less than .05) between dietary treatments. In the jugular vein, lactate increased (P less than .01) from 6.3 to 52.0 mg/100 ml in the control group and increased from 6.3 to 45.6 mg/100 ml in the high-protein group. There was an interaction (P less than .05) between diet and exercise for lactate. Plasma NH3 increased (P less than .001) during exercise, but not until the 15th min, at which time NH3 increased over fourfold in both groups. Dietary protein did not affect NH3; however, urea-N was higher (P less than .001) in horses receiving the high-protein diet. Plasma alanine increased from 13.6 to 30.3 mumol/100 ml and glutamine increased from 49.3 to 62.5 mumol/100 ml in the control group. In the high-protein group, alanine increased from 10.2 to 25.8 mumol/100 ml, whereas glutamine increased from 39.3 to 49.2 mumol/100 ml. Our study detected no metabolic evidence for a detrimental effect of excess dietary protein in horses exercising on a graded treadmill at 4.5 m/sec for 15 min.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2185-2192
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Animal Science
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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