Exercise-induced gastrointestinal syndrome occurs in dogs and people and might compromise athlete performance by increasing intestinal permeability and causing gastrointestinal erosions. Racing sled dogs often receive acid suppressant prophylaxis which decreases the incidence of gastric erosions induced by exercise. The objectives were to quantify intestinal injury by measuring serum pro-inflammatory cytokine concentrations before and after exercise and to evaluate gastrointestinal mucosa using video capsule endoscopy after exercise.
Prospective study of 12 racing Alaskan sled dogs receiving approximately 1 mg/kg omeprazole once daily from the day before the race until race completion. Blood was drawn before and 8 to 10 hours after an endurance race for the quantification of cytokines. Gastrointestinal tract mucosa was assessed with video capsule endoscopy immediately post-race.
Eight of nine dogs (89%; 95% confidence interval 52 to 100%) had gastric erosions; all dogs (100%, 95% confidence interval 63 to 100%) had small intestinal erosions. Most of the dogs (seven of nine) had straw or foreign material present. Cytokine levels were not different from before to after the race.
Video capsule endoscopy identified gastrointestinal tract mucosal erosions after exercise in all dogs receiving once-daily omeprazole treatment, though other causes for the lesions besides exercise are possible.

© 2023 The Authors. Journal of Small Animal Practice published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Small Animal Veterinary Association.