Effect of high-intensity exercise on arterial blood gas tensions and upper airway and cardiac function in clinically normal quarter horses and horses heterozygous and homozygous for hyperkalemic periodic paralysis.Am J Vet Res. 1998 May; 59(5):615-8.AJ
To determine the effect of exercise on arterial blood gas tensions and upper airway and cardiac function in clinically normal Quarter Horses and horses heterozygous and homozygous for hyperkalemic periodic paralysis (HYPP). ANIMALS AND PROCEDURE: 5 clinically normal Quarter Horses, and 5 heterozygous and 2 homozygous HYPP-affected horses were examined before, during, and after exercise on a high-speed treadmill. Arterial blood gas tensions, ECG, and echocardiogram were obtained prior to exercise. Upper airway endoscopy, collection of arterial blood samples, and continuous electrocardiography were performed during a high-intensity stepwise exercise test. An ECG was obtained within 1-minute after completion of the final step.
None of the horses homozygous or heterozygous for HYPP had signs of weakness or muscle fasciculations before, during, or after exercise. Horses homozygous for HYPP had intermittent laryngospasm, dynamic pharyngeal collapse, and appreciable hypoxemia, hypercapnia, and ventricular premature contractions during exercise. Heterozygous and clinically normal horses did not have any abnormalities. Potassium concentration increased significantly above the baseline reference range during exercise in all groups of horses.
Horses homozygous for HYPP had laryngospasm and dynamic pharyngeal collapse associated with exercise, most likely secondary to increase in potassium concentration. Upper airway dysfunction is the most likely cause of hypoxemia and hypercapnia. Cardiac arrhythmias were most likely caused by a combination of hypoxemia and hyperkalemia.