The "Magic" of Sled Dogs

A mini-break from tennis, which is going to take over my life soon with the heavy lifting portion of the tennis season approaching later this month (the six-week stretch that includes the French Open and Wimbledon). One fascinating factoid I ran across while reporting some Iditarod stories earlier this year is a little known ability of sled dogs to adjust their metabolisms for long-distance racing so that they are essentially "fatigue-proof," in the words of one researcher.



The ability is of such interest that the Depart of Defense's secretive technology research agency (DARPA) has awarded more than $1.5 million - a whopping sum for veterinary research - to try to find out how the dogs can run hundreds of miles a day while maintaining a resting metabolic rate. You can read about it in today's Science section of the New York Times.

 

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  • 5/6/2008 5:37 PM Margery Glickman wrote:
    Many mushers have reported that their dogs lose a lot of weight racing in the Iditarod. The dogs aren't "fatigue-proof" and often get worn out by racing. Their copper enzymes get depleted, which leads to anemia and fatigue. For the facts, visit the Sled Dog Action Coalition website, http://www.helpsleddogs.org.
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