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Collection and analysis of peritoneal fluid from healthy llamas and alpacas

Christopher K. Cebra VMD, MS, DACVIM1, Susan J. Tornquist DVM, PhD, DACVP2, and Shannon K. Reed DVM3
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  • 1 Departments of Clinical Sciences and Biomedical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331-4802.
  • | 2 Departments of Clinical Sciences and Biomedical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331-4802.
  • | 3 Departments of Clinical Sciences and Biomedical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331-4802.

Abstract

Objective—To describe a technique for abdominocentesis in camelids and report peritoneal fluid biochemical and cytologic findings from healthy llamas and alpacas.

Design—Prospective study.

Animals—17 adult llamas and 5 adult alpacas.

Procedures—Right paracostal abdominocentesis was performed. Peritoneal fluid was collected by gravity flow into tubes containing potassium-EDTA for cell count and cytologic evaluation and lithium heparin for biochemical analysis. Blood samples were collected via jugular venipuncture into heparinized tubes at the same time. Cytologic components were quantified. Fluid pH and concentrations of total carbon dioxide, sodium, potassium, chloride, lactate, and glucose were compared between peritoneal fluid and venous blood.

Results—All but 3 camelids had peritoneal fluid cell counts of < 3,000 nucleated cells/μL, with < 2,000 neutrophils/μL and < 1,040 large mononuclear cells/μL. All but 1 had peritoneal fluid protein concentrations of ≥ 2.5 g/dL. Peritoneal fluid of camelids generally contained slightly less glucose, lactate, and sodium and roughly equal concentrations of potassium and chloride as venous blood.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Peritoneal fluid was collected safely from healthy camelids. Compared with blood, peritoneal fluid usually had a low cell count and protein concentration, but some individuals had higher values. Electrolyte concentrations resembled those found in blood. High cell counts and protein concentrations found in peritoneal fluid of some healthy camelids may overlap with values found in diseased camelids, complicating interpretation of peritoneal fluid values.

Abstract

Objective—To describe a technique for abdominocentesis in camelids and report peritoneal fluid biochemical and cytologic findings from healthy llamas and alpacas.

Design—Prospective study.

Animals—17 adult llamas and 5 adult alpacas.

Procedures—Right paracostal abdominocentesis was performed. Peritoneal fluid was collected by gravity flow into tubes containing potassium-EDTA for cell count and cytologic evaluation and lithium heparin for biochemical analysis. Blood samples were collected via jugular venipuncture into heparinized tubes at the same time. Cytologic components were quantified. Fluid pH and concentrations of total carbon dioxide, sodium, potassium, chloride, lactate, and glucose were compared between peritoneal fluid and venous blood.

Results—All but 3 camelids had peritoneal fluid cell counts of < 3,000 nucleated cells/μL, with < 2,000 neutrophils/μL and < 1,040 large mononuclear cells/μL. All but 1 had peritoneal fluid protein concentrations of ≥ 2.5 g/dL. Peritoneal fluid of camelids generally contained slightly less glucose, lactate, and sodium and roughly equal concentrations of potassium and chloride as venous blood.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Peritoneal fluid was collected safely from healthy camelids. Compared with blood, peritoneal fluid usually had a low cell count and protein concentration, but some individuals had higher values. Electrolyte concentrations resembled those found in blood. High cell counts and protein concentrations found in peritoneal fluid of some healthy camelids may overlap with values found in diseased camelids, complicating interpretation of peritoneal fluid values.

Contributor Notes

Funded by the Willamette Valley Llama Foundation.

An abstract was presented at the 2007 International Camelid Health Conference, Corvallis, OR.

Address correspondence to Dr. Cebra.