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The effects of whole-body potassium depletion induced by food deprivation on plasma, erythrocyte, and middle gluteal muscle K concentrations was quantified in 16 healthy, adult horses before, during, and at the end of a 7-day period of food deprivation during which water and sodium chloride were available ad libitum. Potassium concentrations were determined by atomic absorption spectroscopy.

Plasma K concentration remained constant (3.49 ± 0.09 mM K/L of plasma; mean ± sem) throughout the study. Erythrocyte potassium concentration decreased from 93.10 ± 1.94 mM K/L of erythrocytes on day 0 to 88.63 ± 2.39 mM K/L of erythrocytes on day 2 (decrease of 4.8%; P < 0.05) and thereafter did not change. The K concentration of the middle gluteal muscle decreased from 91.06 ± 2.96 μM K/g of muscle (wet weight) to 79.61 ± 2.09 μM K/g of muscle (decrease of 12.6%; P < 0.05) on day 4 and decreased further on day 7 to 73.62 ± 1.85 μM K/g of muscle (decrease of 19.2%; P < 0.05). There was no correlation between the plasma and erythrocyte K concentrations (r = −0.066), the erythrocyte and middle gluteal muscle K concentrations (r = 0.167), or the plasma and middle gluteal muscle potassium concentrations (r = −0.018). The water content of the middle gluteal muscle remained constant (73.23 ± 0.36%) throughout the study.

Erythrocyte membrane potential did not change (−99.26 ± 0.87 mV) during the study, whereas the magnitude of the membrane potential of the middle gluteal muscle decreased from −105.84 ± 1.67 mV on day 0 to −100.93 ± 2.10 mV on day 7 (P < 0.05).

Free access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research


To investigate intramammary infections in llamas, identify the pathogens responsible, and determine whether effects of intramammary infection could be detected by use of mastitis indicator tests commonly used for cows.


Observational study.


100 llamas on 10 farms.


Milk samples were evaluated by bacterial culturing and by determination of somatic cell count (SCC), using direct microscopic and automated counting methods, California Mastitis Test score, pH, and N-acetyl-β-d-glucosaminidase activity. Correlation coefficients were determined among the various mastitis indicator tests, and test results were determined for milk from infected and uninfected glands.


Evidence of intramammary infection was evident in 76 of 369 (21%) milk samples, with 54 of 94 (57%) llamas having at least 1 infected gland. Staphylococcus sp other than Staphylococcus aureus were the predominant pathogens. None of the llamas had clinical signs of mastitis, and significant differences were not detected in SCC, California Mastitis Test score, pH, or N-acetyl-β-d-glucosaminidase activity between infected and uninfected samples. California Mastitis Test scores were negative or trace for 307 of 313 (98%) samples, and SCC were low. In contrast, pH and N-acetyl-β-d-glucosaminidase activity of milk from uninfected glands were higher than values reported for milk from uninfected cows, and neither variable was significantly correlated with the number of somatic cells in samples of llama milk.

Clinical Implications

Although intramammary infections develop in llamas, inflammation (mastitis) appears to be rare. Values for mastitis indicator tests used for cows cannot be directly extrapolated to llamas. Subclinical mastitis is apparently not an important problem in llamas in the United States. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1996;209:1457–1463).

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Fetal infectivity of Ehrlichia risticii was investigated in 19 ponies that were E risticii negative on the basis of results of an indirect fluorescent antibody (ifa) test. Thirteen pregnant ponies were infected by iv administration of E risticii between 90 and 180 days of gestation. Six pregnant ponies served as noninfected controls. Each infected pony had clinical signs of equine monocytic ehrlichiosis, was confirmed to be ehrlichemic, and developed an ifa titer to E risticii. Two infected ponies became recumbent, were unresponsive to supportive care, and were euthanatized. After recovery from clinical illness, the remaining ponies were observed throughout gestation for reproductive abnormalities. On abortion, each fetus was necropsied and tissue specimens from the liver, bone marrow, spleen, colon, and mesenteric lymph nodes were inoculated into canine monocyte cell cultures. Six infected ponies aborted at a mean 217 days of gestation, which was between postinoculation days 65 and 111. Five fetuses were recovered for evaluation, and E risticii was isolated from 4 of them. All 5 fetuses recovered had similar histologic findings, including enterocolitis, periportal hepatitis, and lymphoid hyperplasia with necrosis of the mesenteric lymph nodes and spleen. All 5 fetuses tested negative for IgG to E risticii, although 3 had low IgM titer to E risticii. The remaining 5 infected ponies had normal parturition. Presuckle ifa titer to E risticii was measured in 4 of the term foals, and results for 3 were positive. Two foals from infected ponies were monitored for 6 months and daily gain in body weight was comparable to that of a control foal. None of the control ponies became ill or seroconverted during the clinical illness phase, and none aborted throughout gestation. Two control ponies seroconverted to E risticii 6 weeks before parturition. Results of this study indicate that E risticii is a primary abortifacient under experimental conditions.

Free access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research