Glucose tolerance testing in llamas and alpacas

Christopher K. Cebra, Susan J. Tornquist, Robert J. Van Saun, Bradford B. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Objective - To determine blood glucose clearance in 2 species of New World camelids after IV challenge and to examine mechanisms of this clearance. Animals - 5 adult female llamas and 5 adult gelded alpacas. Procedure - After food was withheld for 12 hours, camelids received 0.5 g of glucose/kg of body weight by rapid IV infusion. Serum concentrations of glucose, nonesterified fatty acids, cortisol, and insulin, and plasma concentrations of lactate were determined before and 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 15, 30, 60, 90, 120, 180, and 240 minutes after infusion. Ratios of insulin to glucose and insulin to cortisol were calculated for each time point. Results - Postinfusion glucose concentrations were significantly higher in llamas than alpacas for the first 15 minutes and remained significantly higher than baseline values in both species for 180 minutes. Lactate and cortisol concentrations did not change significantly; nonesterified fatty acid concentrations decreased in both species 30 minutes after infusion. Baseline insulin concentrations were < 6 μU/ml in both species and increased only to 10.1 ± 0.7 μU/ml in llamas. Insulin concentrations did not change significantly in alpacas. Conclusions and Clinical Relevance - Llamas and alpacas clear glucose more slowly than other domestic species after challenge, mainly because of a weak insulin response and slow cellular uptake. This response may impair the assimilation of exogenous glucose as well as make llamas and alpacas prone to diabetes-like disorders when an abundance of endogenous or exogenous glucogenic agents are present.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)682-686
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican journal of veterinary research
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Veterinary


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