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Respiratory mechanics in sedated and nonsedated adult llamas

Kara M. Lascola DVM, MSc1, Andrew M. Hoffman DVM, DVSc2, Melissa R. Mazan DVM3, and Daniela Bedenice Dr med vet4
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  • 1 Department of Clinical Sciences, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, North Grafton, MA 01536.
  • | 2 Department of Clinical Sciences, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, North Grafton, MA 01536.
  • | 3 Department of Clinical Sciences, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, North Grafton, MA 01536.
  • | 4 Department of Clinical Sciences, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, North Grafton, MA 01536.

Abstract

Objective—To validate the use of noninvasive pulmonary function testing in sedated and nonsedated llamas and establish reference range parameters of respiratory mechanical function.

Animals—10 healthy adult llamas.

Procedures—Pulmonary function testing in llamas included the following: measurement of functional residual capacity (FRC) via helium dilution, respiratory inductance plethysmography (RIP) to assess breathing pattern and flow limitations, esophageal-balloon pneumotachography, and a monofrequency forced oscillatory technique (FOT; 1 to 7 Hz) before and after IM administration of xylazine (0.2 mg/kg).

Results—The following mean ± SD measurements of respiratory function were obtained in nonsedated llamas: FRC (5.60 ± 1.24 L), tidal volume (1.03 ± 0.3 L), dynamic compliance (0.83 ± 0.4 L/cm H2O), pulmonary resistance (RL; 1.42 ± 0.54 cm H2O/L/s), and respiratory system resistance (2.4 ± 0.9, 2.3 ± 0.7, 2.2 ± 0.6, 2.7 ± 0.7, and 2.5 ± 0.5 cm H2O/L/s at 1, 2, 3, 5, and 7 Hz, respectively) by use of FOT. Measurements of flow limitations via RIP were comparable to other species. Sedation with xylazine induced significant increases in RL and maximum change in transpulmonary pressure. Following sedation, a mean 127% increase in RL and mean 116% increase in respiratory system resistance were observed across 1 to 7 Hz. The magnitude of change in respiratory system resistance increased with decreasing impulse frequency, suggesting bronchoconstriction.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Noninvasive pulmonary function testing is well tolerated in untrained unsedated llamas. These techniques have clinical applications in the diagnosis and treatment of respiratory tract disease, although testing should not be performed after sedation with xylazine.

Abstract

Objective—To validate the use of noninvasive pulmonary function testing in sedated and nonsedated llamas and establish reference range parameters of respiratory mechanical function.

Animals—10 healthy adult llamas.

Procedures—Pulmonary function testing in llamas included the following: measurement of functional residual capacity (FRC) via helium dilution, respiratory inductance plethysmography (RIP) to assess breathing pattern and flow limitations, esophageal-balloon pneumotachography, and a monofrequency forced oscillatory technique (FOT; 1 to 7 Hz) before and after IM administration of xylazine (0.2 mg/kg).

Results—The following mean ± SD measurements of respiratory function were obtained in nonsedated llamas: FRC (5.60 ± 1.24 L), tidal volume (1.03 ± 0.3 L), dynamic compliance (0.83 ± 0.4 L/cm H2O), pulmonary resistance (RL; 1.42 ± 0.54 cm H2O/L/s), and respiratory system resistance (2.4 ± 0.9, 2.3 ± 0.7, 2.2 ± 0.6, 2.7 ± 0.7, and 2.5 ± 0.5 cm H2O/L/s at 1, 2, 3, 5, and 7 Hz, respectively) by use of FOT. Measurements of flow limitations via RIP were comparable to other species. Sedation with xylazine induced significant increases in RL and maximum change in transpulmonary pressure. Following sedation, a mean 127% increase in RL and mean 116% increase in respiratory system resistance were observed across 1 to 7 Hz. The magnitude of change in respiratory system resistance increased with decreasing impulse frequency, suggesting bronchoconstriction.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Noninvasive pulmonary function testing is well tolerated in untrained unsedated llamas. These techniques have clinical applications in the diagnosis and treatment of respiratory tract disease, although testing should not be performed after sedation with xylazine.

Contributor Notes

Presented as an abstract at the International Veterinary and Emergency and Critical Care Society Symposium, San Diego, September 2004.

The authors thank Trish Oura for technical assistance.

Address correspondence to Dr. Lascola.