Objective - To determine and compare the abomasal emptying rates in calves suckling milk replacer or an isotonic or hypertonic solution of NaHCO3 or glucose. Animals - 5 male Holstein-Friesian calves that were < 30 days of age. Procedures - Calves were fed 2 L of milk replacer or isotonic (300 mOsm/ L) or hypertonic (600 mOsm/L) solutions of NaHCO3 or glucose containing acetaminophen (50 mg/kg). Venous blood samples and transabdominal ultrasonographic abomasal dimensions were obtained periodically after feeding, and abomasal luminal pH was continuously monitored by placement of a luminal pH electrode through an abomasal cannula. Abomasal emptying rate was assessed by the time to maximal plasma acetaminophen concentration, ultrasonographic determination of the half-time of abomasal emptying, and the time for luminal pH to return to within 1 pH unit of the preprandial value. Results - Hypertonic NaHCO3 solution was emptied slower than an isotonic NaHCO3 solution, isotonic glucose solution was emptied slower than an isotonic NaHCO3 solution, and hypertonic glucose solution emptied slower than an isotonic glucose solution. Conclusions and clinical relevance - An electrolyte solution for oral administration with a high osmolarity and glucose concentration may lead to a slower resuscitation of dehydrated diarrheic calves because such solutions decrease the abomasal emptying rate and therefore the rate of solution delivery to the small intestine. Whether slowing of the abomasal emptying rate in dehydrated diarrheic calves suckling an oral electrolyte solution is clinically important remains to be determined.
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