Comparison of hypertonic saline-dextran solution and lactated Ringer's solution for resuscitating severely dehydrated calves with diarrhea

Pamela G. Walker, Peter D. Constable, Dawn E. Morin, Jonathan H. Foreman, James K. Drackley, John C. Thurmon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective - To determine effectiveness of rapid IV administration of hypertonic saline-dextran (HSD) solution combined with oral administration of isotonic electrolyte solution for resuscitating severely dehydrated calves and to compare the resuscitative response with that of a conventional treatment of lactated Ringer's solution (LRS) IV and orally administered isotonic electrolyte solution. Design - Prospective study. Animals - 15 male dairy calves 3 to 10 days old. Procedure - Baseline data were obtained. Osmotic diarrhea and severe dehydration were induced for 48 hours. Calves were then allocated to 3 treatment groups. The control group (group C) did not receive fluids, a second group (group H) received hypertonic saline (7.2% NaCl) solution with 6% dextran 70 and isotonic electrolyte solution, and a third group (group L) received LRS and isotonic electrolyte solution. Physical examinations were performed every 8 hours. Results - Calves developed diarrhea, lethargy, severe dehydration (mean, 14% of body weight), azotemia, hyperkalemia, and mild acidemia. Group-C calves remained lethargic and severely dehydrated during the 24-hour treatment phase. Calves treated with HSD and LRS were effectively resuscitated; however, response for most variables was more rapid and sustained for the HSD-treated group. Cardiac output was greater in LRS- than HSD-treated calves 1, 2, and 8 hours after initiation of treatment because of continued IV administration of fluids. Clinical Implications - A combination of HSD and isotonic electrolyte solution was a rapid and effective method for resuscitation of severely dehydrated calves. It was similar in effectiveness to conventional treatment in which LRS and isotonic electrolyte solution were used for resuscitating calves with severe dehydration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-121
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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