Objective—To describe the microanatomic features of pancreatic islets and the immunohistochemical distribution of glucose transporter (GLUT) molecules in the pancreas and other tissues of New World camelids.
Animals—7 healthy adult New World camelids, 2 neonatal camelids with developmental skeletal abnormalities, and 2 BALB/c mice.
Procedure—Samples of pancreas, liver, skeletal muscle, mammary gland, brain, and adipose tissue were collected postmortem from camelids and mice. Pancreatic tissue sections from camelids were assessed microscopically. Sections of all tissues from camelids and mice (positive control specimens) were examined after staining with antibodies against GLUT-1, -2, -3, and -4 molecules.
Results—In camelids, pancreatic islets were prominent and lacked connective tissue capsules. Numerous individual endocrine-type cells were visible distant from the islets. Findings in neonatal and adult tissues were similar; however, the former appeared to have more non–islet-associated endocrine cells. Via immunostaining, GLUT-2 molecules were detected on pancreatic endocrine cells and hepatocytes in camelids, GLUT-1 molecules were detected on the capillary endothelium of the CNS, GLUT-3 molecules were detected throughout the gray matter, and GLUT-4 molecules were not detected in any camelid tissues. Staining characteristics of neonatal and adult tissues were similar.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—In New World camelids, microanatomic features of pancreatic islets are similar to those of other mammals. Data suggest that the poor glucose clearance and poor insulin response to hyperglycemia in adult camelids cannot be attributed to a lack of islet cells or lack of GLUT molecules on the outer membrane of those cells.
Case Description—15 llamas and 34 alpacas between 3 weeks and 18 years old with fecal oocysts or intestinal coccidial stages morphologically consistent with Eimeria macusaniensis were examined. Nineteen of the camelids were admitted dead, and 30 were admitted alive. Camelids admitted alive accounted for 5.5% of all camelid admissions during this period.
Clinical Findings—Many severely affected camelids had signs of lethargy, weight loss, decreased appetite, and diarrhea. Camelids with clinical infection also commonly had evidence of circulatory shock, fat mobilization, and protein loss. Nonsurviving camelids also had evidence of shock, edema, bile stasis, renal insufficiency, hepatic lipidosis, muscle damage, relative hemoconcentration, and sepsis. Postmortem examination frequently re-vealed complete, segmental replacement of the mucosa of the distal portion of the jejunum with coccidial meronts and gamonts. For 17 of 42 camelids, results of initial fecal examinations for E macusaniensis were negative.
Treatment and Outcome—Most camelids admitted alive were treated with amprolium hydrochloride, plasma, and various supportive treatments. Fifteen of the 30 treated camelids died or were euthanized.
Clinical Relevance—Findings suggest that E macusaniensis may be an important gastrointestinal tract pathogen in camelids of all ages. Clinical signs were frequently nonspecific and were often evident before results of fecal examinations for the parasite were positive. As with other coccidia, severity of disease was probably related to ingested dose, host immunity, and other factors. The clinical and herd relevance of positive fecal examination results must be determined.