Ovine ketosis. V. Ketone body and blood glucose levels of Merino ewes during the preclinical, clinical and postclinical stages of pregnancy disease

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 3
  • SDG 2
  • Abstract:

    Pregnancy disease was induced in well-conditioned Merino sheep by subjecting them to sudden changes of diet, short term starvation or oral dosing of Sulphadimidine. The blood levels of ketones and glucose were followed daily throughout the preclinical, clinical and postclinical stages of this metabolic disorder. Typical clinical symptoms of cerebral dysfunction were obtained in six pregnant ewes entering their last month of gestation, a non-pregnant ewe, and a wether. No relation was found between clinical symptoms, minimum blood glucose or maximum blood ketone levels or the time at which these occurred, thus indicating that the nervous symptoms were not due to either the low levels of circulating blood glucose or the high levels of ketone bodies per se. The appearance of clinical symptoms amongst the pregnant ewes was invariably preceded by both a persistent hypoglycaemia and a persistent ketosis ; this was less clearly defined in the case of the non-pregnant ewe and the wether. The possibility that the nervous symptoms could have been due to impaired glucose utilization by the cerebral cells, brought about by adrenal cortical hyperactivity is discussed.