Dehydration in stressed ruminants may be the result of cortisol-induced diuresis

Parker, A.J., Hamlin, G.P., Coleman, C.J., and Fitzpatrick, L.A. (2003) Dehydration in stressed ruminants may be the result of cortisol-induced diuresis. Journal of Animal Science, 81 (2). pp. 512-519.

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Abstract

The effect on water and electrolyte balance of stress, simulated by intravenous infusion of cortisol, was studied using 24 18-mo-old Merino wethers (37.0 ± 0.94 kg mean body weight [BW]) over 72 h. The sheep were allocated to one of four groups: 1) no water/no cortisol (n = 6); 2) water/no cortisol (n = 4); 3) no water/cortisol (n = 6); and 4) water/cortisol (n = 4). Animals allocated to the two cortisol groups were given 0.1 mg•kg BW-1•h-1 of hydrocortisone suspended in isotonic saline to simulate stress for the duration of the experiment. Total body water, plasma cortisol, osmolality and electrolytes, and urine electrolytes were determined at 24-h intervals for 72 h. In the presence of cortisol, total body water was maintained in the face of a water deprivation insult for 72 h. Water deprivation alone did not induce elevated plasma concentrations of cortisol, in spite of a 13% loss of total body water between 48 and 72 h. Infusion of cortisol was found to increase urine output (P = 0.003) and decrease total urinary sodium output (P = 0.032), but had no effect on plasma electrolyte levels or water intake. Water deprivation was found to increase plasma sodium concentrations (P = 0.037). These results indicate that sheep given cortisol to simulate stress suffer from a loss of body water in excess of that associated with a loss of electrolytes, and support the hypothesis that elevated physiological concentrations of cortisol induce a diuresis in ruminants that contributes to dehydration.

Item ID: 6510
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: body water; electrolytes; hydrocortisone; sheep; stress
ISSN: 1525-3163
Date Deposited: 04 Feb 2010 01:40
FoR Codes: 07 AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY SCIENCES > 0702 Animal Production > 070203 Animal Management @ 51%
07 AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY SCIENCES > 0707 Veterinary Sciences > 070702 Veterinary Anatomy and Physiology @ 49%
SEO Codes: 83 ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND ANIMAL PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 8303 Livestock Raising > 830311 Sheep - Wool @ 100%
Citation Count from Web of Science Web of Science 21
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