Alterations in acid-base balance and serum electrolyte concentrations in cattle: 632 cases (1984-1994).
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OBJECTIVE: To determine typical alterations in acid-base balance and serum electrolyte concentrations in cattle grouped on the basis of age, breed type, hydration status, clinical signs, and underlying disease. DESIGN: Retrospective study. ANIMALS: 632 cattle. PROCEDURE: Information on blood pH, PVO2, PVCO2, HCO3-concentration, and base excess (BE) as well as serum or plasma sodium, potassium, chloride, and total carbon dioxide concentrations was obtained. Values for calves (ie, cattle < 1 month old) were compared with values for cattle > or = 1 month old. Within each age-group, values were compared for cattle grouped on the basis of breed type, previous treatment, and hydration status. Proportions of cattle with various disorders for which values were within, greater than, or less than reference ranges were determined. RESULTS: BE, pH, and HCO3- concentration were significantly higher and PVCO2 and sodium, potassium, and chloride concentrations were significantly lower among cattle > or = 1 month old than calves. Base excess and HCO3- concentration were significantly lower among dairy than beef calves. Sodium and potassium concentrations were significantly lower among dairy than beef cattle > or = 1 month old. A higher proportion of cattle that did not survive had a high anion gap than cattle that did survive. Sodium, potassium, and chloride concentrations were significantly lower among dehydrated cattle than cattle that were not dehydrated. CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: Because certain alterations were consistently found in some groups of cattle, it may be possible to make reasonable predictions of alterations in acid-base balance and serum electrolyte concentrations when laboratory evaluations are not available.