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

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

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61 Scopus citations


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-glutamyltransferase (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, β-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).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1368-1372
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 1 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Veterinary


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