Zobba, Rosanna (2009) Valutazione di alcuni parametri fisici, ematologici e biochimici come indicatori dello stato di benessere nei cavalli da polo. Doctoral Thesis.
The aim of this research was to evaluate the alterations of some physical, haematologic and biochemical parameters in polo horses, in order to assess homeostatic changes caused by this equestrian sport, describe the physical effort and evaluate the respect of animal-welfare. Blood samples were collected from 12 horses at rest, immediately after playing a chukker and after a 30 minute rest period. Each horse was studied during four days of competition. The blood samples were analyzed for a complete blood count and for total proteins, AST, CK, LDH, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and lactic acid. Samples taken after playing had significant increases in RBC, Hct, Hgb, WBC, LYM, TP, CK, LDH and lactic acid and significant decreases of Plt, Pct, Ca, P and Mg. It was concluded that polo is an exercise with aspects similar to racing, even if it is characterized by accelerations, decelerations, stops and changes of directions, whereas it is very different from sports such as endurance, which require resistance and not power or speed. Even if polo can be considered an exercise which requires moderate to high effort from cardiovascular and muscular systems, we have observed that alterations of physical and haematological parameters after the game represented only a physiological adaptation to exercise. Horses didn’t show any signs of fatigue or distress.
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