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Characterization of hypertriglyceridemia and response to treatment with insulin in llamas and alpacas: 31 cases (1995–2005)

Laura H. Waitt DVM, DACVIM1 and Christopher K. Cebra VMD, MS, DACVIM2
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  • 1 Vernon Veterinary Hospital, 14110 Bradshaw Rd, Mount Vernon, WA 98273; and the Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331-4802.
  • | 2 Vernon Veterinary Hospital, 14110 Bradshaw Rd, Mount Vernon, WA 98273; and the Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331-4802.

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate camelids with hypertriglyceridemia with regard to signalment, clinical features of disease, and response to treatment with insulin.

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—23 alpacas and 8 llamas with hypertriglyceridemia.

Procedures—For analysis of medical record data, 20 hypertriglyceridemic camelids with multiple recorded measurements of serum or plasma triglycerides concentration were classified as follows: those with an initial triglycerides concentration > 60 to ≥ 500 mg/dL that were or were not treated with insulin (HT-I and HT-N camelids, respectively) and those with an initial triglycerides concentration > 500 mg/dL that were treated with insulin (lipemic [LIP-I] camelids). Only 1 recorded triglycerides concentration was available for an additional 11 hypertriglyceridemic camelids; data from those records were included in the characterization of signalment and clinical features of disease.

Results—Compared with the general population of hospitalized camelids, hypertriglyceridemic camelids did not differ significantly with respect to age or sex. Of 22 female camelids, only 7 were lactating or pregnant. Serum or plasma triglycerides concentrations in HT-N and HT-I camelids did not differ significantly at admission, but triglycerides concentrations in HT-I camelids decreased significantly after insulin treatment. Posttreatment triglycerides concentrations in HT-I camelids were significantly lower than those in HT-N camelids. During the period of hospitalization, triglycerides concentrations in HT-N camelids increased, whereas those in LIP-I camelids decreased significantly.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicated that hypertriglyceridemia affects llamas and alpacas of all ages and both sexes. Insulin treatment may reduce serum or plasma triglycerides concentrations in camelids with hypertriglyceridemia.

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate camelids with hypertriglyceridemia with regard to signalment, clinical features of disease, and response to treatment with insulin.

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—23 alpacas and 8 llamas with hypertriglyceridemia.

Procedures—For analysis of medical record data, 20 hypertriglyceridemic camelids with multiple recorded measurements of serum or plasma triglycerides concentration were classified as follows: those with an initial triglycerides concentration > 60 to ≥ 500 mg/dL that were or were not treated with insulin (HT-I and HT-N camelids, respectively) and those with an initial triglycerides concentration > 500 mg/dL that were treated with insulin (lipemic [LIP-I] camelids). Only 1 recorded triglycerides concentration was available for an additional 11 hypertriglyceridemic camelids; data from those records were included in the characterization of signalment and clinical features of disease.

Results—Compared with the general population of hospitalized camelids, hypertriglyceridemic camelids did not differ significantly with respect to age or sex. Of 22 female camelids, only 7 were lactating or pregnant. Serum or plasma triglycerides concentrations in HT-N and HT-I camelids did not differ significantly at admission, but triglycerides concentrations in HT-I camelids decreased significantly after insulin treatment. Posttreatment triglycerides concentrations in HT-I camelids were significantly lower than those in HT-N camelids. During the period of hospitalization, triglycerides concentrations in HT-N camelids increased, whereas those in LIP-I camelids decreased significantly.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicated that hypertriglyceridemia affects llamas and alpacas of all ages and both sexes. Insulin treatment may reduce serum or plasma triglycerides concentrations in camelids with hypertriglyceridemia.

Contributor Notes

Presented in part at the 24th Annual American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine Forum, Louisville, June 2006.

Address correspondence to Dr. Waitt.