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Susan Land

Values for Triglycerides, Insulin, Cortisol, and ACTH in a Herd of Normal Donkeys

Susan B. Land, Tex S. Taylor, Nora S. Matthews, Jenifer R. Gold

The College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas

Susan Land

Objective – To determine values for triglycerides, insulin, cortisol, and ACTH in a herd of normal donkeys and compare these values to the given reference ranges for the horse.

Animals or Sample Population – 44 healthy mammoth donkeys and 1 miniature donkey in Bryan, Texas. Donkeys ranged in age from 3 weeks to 21 years and varied in sex and pregnancy status.44 donkeys scored 3 of 5, "ideal", by body condition scoring.

Procedure – Donkeys were sampled over 2 days in late May and early June 2008.  Samples were taken in the morning and submitted to the Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (TVMDL) in College Station, Texas to obtain triglyceride, insulin, cortisol, and ACTH values.  The mean, median, and standard deviations were calculated for the entire population and for individual sex and pregnancy groups.

Results – The mean values in the tested population were 66.4 mg/dL with a standard deviation of 34.2 mg/dL for triglycerides, 2.1 μU/mL for insulin, and 66.7 pg/mL for ACTH.The reference ranges in the horse are 14-77 mg/dL for triglycerides, 4.9-45.5 μU/mL for insulin, and 18.7±6.8 pg/mL for ACTH.Cortisol levels were similar in the two species, a 4.0 μg/dL mean and 1.2 μg/dL standard deviation for donkeys being within the reference range for the horse, 2.9-6.6 μg/dL.Values did not appear to show correlation to age.The sample size prevented us from determining any correlation according to sex or pregnancy status.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance – A marked difference was found between horse and donkey normal values for triglycerides, insulin, and ACTH.Cortisol levels were similar in the horse and the donkey.  Differences between horse and donkey triglyceride and ACTH values may be significant for accurately diagnosing and treating hyperlipemia and PPID, respectively, in the donkey.