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Leggieri, L. R., Marozzi, A., Panebianco, A., Gregorio, P., & Carmanchahi, P. (2018). Effects of Short-Distance Recreational Mushing on Oxytocin, Gastrin, and Creatinine Kinase in Sled Dogs. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, 1-9.

A considerable increase in creatinine kinase (CK) activity and gastrin hormone due to exercise has been observed in sled dogs during endurance mushing races; however, there have been no studies on sled dogs during recreational mushing. Although oxytocin hormone is involved in social behaviors and empathy, it has not been studied in sled dogs. This study aimed to assess changes in plasma CK activity, and gastrin and oxytocin concentrations in adult sled dogs used in touristic mushing in North Patagonia, Argentina. Blood samples were collected before, during, and after the winter season of 2017. Creatinine kinase activity measurement was done using an enzymatic assay. Hormone analyses were performed using commercial Enzyme-Linked InmunoSorbent Assay kits. Results showed an expected two-fold increase in CK activity during the winter, with recovering basal values after winter (< 400 UI/L), low and stable levels of gastrin (9.4 ± 8.8 pg/mL), and a slight increase in oxytocin (23%) after mushing activities. No evidence indicated gastrin alterations or muscular damage from touristic mushing, but an oxytocin increase would indicate a stimulation of the brain reward system.

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