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Effect of orally administered electrolyte solution formulation on abomasal luminal pH and emptying rate in dairy calves

Geof W. SmithDepartment of Population Health and Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27606.

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Ahmed F. AhmedDepartment of Surgery, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Assiut University, Assiut, Egypt.

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Peter D. ConstableDepartment of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907.

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Abstract

Objective—To determine the effects of 3 commercially available, orally administered electrolyte solutions (OAEs) on abomasal luminal pH and emptying rate in dairy calves, compared with the effect of orally administered milk replacer.

Design—Randomized crossover study.

Animals—6 male dairy calves (age, 12 to 31 days).

Procedures—Calves were surgically instrumented with an abomasal cannula and were administered 4 treatments in randomized order: all-milk protein milk replacer, high-glucose high-bicarbonate OAE, high-glucose high-bicarbonate OAE containing glycine, and low-glucose OAE containing acetate and propionate. Abomasal luminal pH was measured with a miniature glass pH electrode prior to treatment administration and every second afterward for 24 hours.

Results—Feeding of orally administered milk replacer resulted in a rapid increase in mean abomasal luminal pH from 1.3 to 5.8, followed by a gradual decrease to preprandial values by 8 hours afterward (mean 24-hour pH, 3.2). High-glucose high-bicarbonate OAEs caused a large and sustained increase from 1.3 to 7.5 (mean 24-hour pH, 4.1 for the solution without glycine and 3.5 for the solution with glycine). In contrast, feeding of the acetate-containing OAE was followed by only a mild and transient increase (mean 24-hour pH, 2.1); luminal pH returned to preprandial values by 3 hours after ingestion.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Ingestion of a bicarbonate-containing OAE resulted in sustained abomasal alkalinization in dairy calves. Because persistently high abomasal luminal pH may facilitate growth of enteropathogenic bacteria, administration of OAEs containing a high bicarbonate concentration (> 70mM) is not recommended for calves with diarrhea.

Abstract

Objective—To determine the effects of 3 commercially available, orally administered electrolyte solutions (OAEs) on abomasal luminal pH and emptying rate in dairy calves, compared with the effect of orally administered milk replacer.

Design—Randomized crossover study.

Animals—6 male dairy calves (age, 12 to 31 days).

Procedures—Calves were surgically instrumented with an abomasal cannula and were administered 4 treatments in randomized order: all-milk protein milk replacer, high-glucose high-bicarbonate OAE, high-glucose high-bicarbonate OAE containing glycine, and low-glucose OAE containing acetate and propionate. Abomasal luminal pH was measured with a miniature glass pH electrode prior to treatment administration and every second afterward for 24 hours.

Results—Feeding of orally administered milk replacer resulted in a rapid increase in mean abomasal luminal pH from 1.3 to 5.8, followed by a gradual decrease to preprandial values by 8 hours afterward (mean 24-hour pH, 3.2). High-glucose high-bicarbonate OAEs caused a large and sustained increase from 1.3 to 7.5 (mean 24-hour pH, 4.1 for the solution without glycine and 3.5 for the solution with glycine). In contrast, feeding of the acetate-containing OAE was followed by only a mild and transient increase (mean 24-hour pH, 2.1); luminal pH returned to preprandial values by 3 hours after ingestion.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Ingestion of a bicarbonate-containing OAE resulted in sustained abomasal alkalinization in dairy calves. Because persistently high abomasal luminal pH may facilitate growth of enteropathogenic bacteria, administration of OAEs containing a high bicarbonate concentration (> 70mM) is not recommended for calves with diarrhea.

Contributor Notes

This study was performed at the University of Illinois.

Supported in part by the Cultural and Educational Bureau, Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt.

Address correspondence to Dr. Smith (Geoffrey_Smith@ncsu.edu).