Tritiated water for estimating total body water and water turnover rate in birds

A. A. Degen, B. Pinshow, P. U. Alkon, H. Arnon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


The use of trititated water (TOH) to estimate total body water (TBW) and total water turnover rate was validated in chukar partridges (Alectoris chukar) and sand partridges (Ammoperdix heyi). For six chukar partridges weighing between 315 to 475 g, TOH equilibration with body fluids was less than 45 min after intramuscular or intravenous injections. Mean TOH space in eight chukar partridges was 99.8% of the mean TBW measured by desiccation with individuals ranging between 97.9 and 103.2%. TOH space best approximated TBW when TBW was calculated by using the mean body mass for a bird weighed at TOH injection and at TOH equilibration. Total water intake as estimated by TOH ranged between 90.7 and 113.3% of measured water intake in three sand and three chukar partridges, birds ranging in mass from 145 to 446 g. We conclude that the TOH method provides accurate estimations of TBW and water turnover rates in birds. For birds of up to 500-g body mass, we recommend 45 min for TOH equilibration with body fluids, and intramuscular injections of 0.05 μCi TOH/g body mass for TBW estimations and 0.1 μCi TOH/g body mass for water turnover estimations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1183-1188
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology Respiratory Environmental and Exercise Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1981

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Endocrinology


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