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  • Author or Editor: Shaun A. McKane x
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Objective—To evaluate the effects of exogenous insulin on clearance of exogenous glucose in alpacas.

Animals—7 adult castrated male alpacas.

Procedure—Prior to each of 2 trials, food was withheld for 8 hours. Glucose (0.5 g/kg of body weight) was then administered by rapid IV infusion. During 1 of the trials, regular insulin (0.2 U/kg, IV) was also administered 15 minutes later. Blood was collected immediately before (0 minutes) and 15, 20, 25, 30, 45, 60, 90, 120, 180, and 240 minutes after glucose administration. Plasma concentrations of glucose and lactate were determined, and glucose fractional turnover rate and plasma half-life were calculated.

Results—Insulin treatment caused a significant increase in fractional turnover rate of glucose and plasma lactate concentration. Plasma glucose concentrations were less in insulin-treated alpacas from 30 minutes after glucose administration (15 minutes after insulin administration) until the conclusion of each trial, compared with nontreated alpacas. In addition, plasma glucose concentration in insulin-treated alpacas returned to baseline values 1 hour sooner than in the nontreated group.

Conclusion and Clinical Relevance—Glucose uptake in alpacas improves after insulin treatment, suggesting that administration of exogenous insulin will increase the therapeutic and decrease the pathologic effects of exogenous glucose administered to hypoglycemic alpacas. However, alpacas and other New World camelids should be monitored carefully during treatment with glucose or insulin, because these species appear to be partially insulin resistant. (Am J Vet Res 2001;62:1544–1547)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To evaluate effects of hydrocortisone administration, with and without concurrent administration of insulin, on intermediary metabolism in alpacas.

Animals—8 adult castrated male alpacas.

Procedure—On each of 2 consecutive days, food was withheld from alpacas for 8 hours. Alpacas then were administered 1 mg of hydrocortisone sodium succinate/kg, IV (time 0). On 1 of the days, randomly assigned alpacas were also administered regular insulin (0.2 U/kg, IV) 120 minutes after hydrocortisone administration. Blood samples were collected at 0, 120, 135, 150, 165, 180, 210, 240, 300, and 360 minutes. Plasma concentrations of glucose and lactate and serum concentrations of triglycerides, cholesterol, nonesterified fatty acids, and β-hydroxybutyrate were determined. Data were compared between days. Additionally, serum insulin concentrations before and after hydrocortisone administration were determined for selected samples.

Results—Hydrocortisone administration induced hyperglycemia, hyperinsulinemia, a reduction in concentrations of triglycerides and cholesterol, and a reduction in triglyceride-to-cholesterol ratio. Subsequent insulin administration temporarily negated the hyperglycemic effects of hydrocortisone, induced temporary hyperlactemia, and augmented the reduction in blood triglycerides.

Conclusion and Clinical Relevance—A single dose of a short-acting corticosteroid does not increase blood lipid fractions in healthy alpacas, probably because of a competent endogenous insulin response. Corticosteroids may induce differing responses in camelids with depleted glycogen stores or an ineffective insulin response. Administration of insulin can effectively negate the hyperglycemic effects of hydrocortisone and augment lipoprotein clearance. Hence, insulin administration may be therapeutic for alpacas with hyperglycemia, hyperlipemia, or hyperketonemia. (Am J Vet Res 2002;63:1269–1274)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research