Hepatic lipidosis in llamas and alpacas: 31 cases (1991-1997)

Susan J. Tornquist From the Departments of Veterinary Biomedical Scieinces (Tornquist, Smith, Snyder) and Large Animal Clinical Sciences (Van Saun, Cebra), College of Veterinary Medicine, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331-4802.

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Robert J. Van Saun From the Departments of Veterinary Biomedical Scieinces (Tornquist, Smith, Snyder) and Large Animal Clinical Sciences (Van Saun, Cebra), College of Veterinary Medicine, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331-4802.

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Bradford B. Smith From the Departments of Veterinary Biomedical Scieinces (Tornquist, Smith, Snyder) and Large Animal Clinical Sciences (Van Saun, Cebra), College of Veterinary Medicine, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331-4802.

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Christopher K. Cebra From the Departments of Veterinary Biomedical Scieinces (Tornquist, Smith, Snyder) and Large Animal Clinical Sciences (Van Saun, Cebra), College of Veterinary Medicine, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331-4802.

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Stanley P. Snyder From the Departments of Veterinary Biomedical Scieinces (Tornquist, Smith, Snyder) and Large Animal Clinical Sciences (Van Saun, Cebra), College of Veterinary Medicine, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331-4802.

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Objective

To identify factors associated with hepatic lipidosis (HL) in llamas and alpacas.

Design

Retrospective case series.

Animals

30 llamas and 1 alpaca.

Procedures

Medical records were searched to identify llamas or alpacas in which a histologic diagnosis of HL was made. Information was retrieved on signalment, history, clinical and laboratory findings, and results of necropsy or examination of biopsy specimens. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and χ2 analyses.

Results

Females were affected more often than males; however, the sex distribution was not different from that of the camelid population in the diagnostic laboratory's database. Fifty-four percent of the females were pregnant, and 46% were lactating. Most affected camelids were 6 to 10 years old. Anorexia and recent weight loss were common (51.6% of camelids). An infective agent was found in only one llama, and toxins and mineral deficiencies were not identified. The most common abnormalities on serum biochemical analysis were a high concentration of bile acids, high activities of γ-glutamyltrans-ferase (GGT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST), and hypoproteinemia. Concentrations of nonesterified fatty acids (NEFA) and β-hydroxybutyrate (β-HB) were high in those camelids in which these compounds were assayed. Twenty-nine camelids did not survive.

Clinical Implications

Sick camelids should be considered at risk for developing HL, especially those with anorexia or the metabolic demands of pregnancy and lactation. Other stresses also appear to contribute. High concentrations of NEFA, γ-HB, and bile acids; high activities of GGT and AST; and hypoproteinemia may indicate that HL has developed. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1999;214:1368–1372)

Objective

To identify factors associated with hepatic lipidosis (HL) in llamas and alpacas.

Design

Retrospective case series.

Animals

30 llamas and 1 alpaca.

Procedures

Medical records were searched to identify llamas or alpacas in which a histologic diagnosis of HL was made. Information was retrieved on signalment, history, clinical and laboratory findings, and results of necropsy or examination of biopsy specimens. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and χ2 analyses.

Results

Females were affected more often than males; however, the sex distribution was not different from that of the camelid population in the diagnostic laboratory's database. Fifty-four percent of the females were pregnant, and 46% were lactating. Most affected camelids were 6 to 10 years old. Anorexia and recent weight loss were common (51.6% of camelids). An infective agent was found in only one llama, and toxins and mineral deficiencies were not identified. The most common abnormalities on serum biochemical analysis were a high concentration of bile acids, high activities of γ-glutamyltrans-ferase (GGT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST), and hypoproteinemia. Concentrations of nonesterified fatty acids (NEFA) and β-hydroxybutyrate (β-HB) were high in those camelids in which these compounds were assayed. Twenty-nine camelids did not survive.

Clinical Implications

Sick camelids should be considered at risk for developing HL, especially those with anorexia or the metabolic demands of pregnancy and lactation. Other stresses also appear to contribute. High concentrations of NEFA, γ-HB, and bile acids; high activities of GGT and AST; and hypoproteinemia may indicate that HL has developed. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1999;214:1368–1372)

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