Plasma biochemical values in the guanaco (Lama gaunicoe) and a comparison with the sheep

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An initial experiment was conducted to investigate the variability of selected metabolites in the plasma from guanacos. A second experiment directly compared plasma biochemical values for guanacos with those for sheep. During the first experiment, jugular blood samples were collected from five mature castrated guanacos using an embedded experimental design. Weekly blood samples were collected at the same time (09.00 h) on the same day each week for 7 weeks. Daily blood samples were collected at the same time each day (09.00 h) during week 5. On day 2 of week 5, blood samples were collected every 3 h from 09.00 h for a 24-h period. No evidence of a cyclical pattern of plasma parameters was observed on a weekly, daily or 3-h basis. During the second experiment, the metabolic profiles of 11 mature castrated guanacos and 11 mature barren ewes (Merino X Welsh Mountain) were compared. Significant differences in plasma concentrations of all metabolites except urea-nitrogen (guanacos -15·42 mmol/l, sheep - 15·60 (s.e.d. 1·506) mmol/l) were found with values for guanacos v. sheep as follows: glucose (7·63 v. 3·63 (s.e.d. 0·268) mmol/l); acetate (0·26 v. 0·48 (s.e.d. 0·035) mmol/l); β-hydroxybutyrate (0·06 v. 0·50 (s.e.d. 0·019) mmol/l); albumin (33·4 v. 29·5 (s.e.d. 0·93) g/l); and total protein (53·8 v. 65·6 (s.e.d. 2·12) g/l); (P < 0·001 for all previous variables); non-esterified fatty acids (0·48 v. 0·29 (s.e.d. 0·048) meq per l; P < 0·01) and α-amino N (2·44 v. 2·66 (s.e.d. 0·088) mmol/l; P < 0·05). This study indicates that the reference plasma metabolite concentrations of sheep are not suitable alternatives for use for nutritional or veterinary purposes with guanacos, but those of llamas or alpacas are. The results also suggest that energy capture and transport in camelids may be markedly different from that in conventional ruminants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-216
Number of pages8
JournalAnimal Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1998


  • 3-Hydroxybutyric acid
  • Camelidae
  • Glucose
  • Lama guanicoe
  • Metabolites


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