OBJECTIVE: To determine concentrations of electrolytes, total bilirubin, urea, creatinine, and hemoglobin; activities of some enzymes; and Hct and number of leukocytes and erythrocytes of newborn calves in relation to the degree of acidosis and treatment with a hypertonic sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO(3)) solution.
ANIMALS: 20 acidotic newborn calves with a blood pH < 7.2 and 22 newborn control calves with a blood pH > or = 7.2.
PROCEDURES: Approximately 10 minutes after birth, acidotic calves were treated by IV administration of 5% NaHCO(3) solution. The amount of hypertonic solution infused was dependent on the severity of the acidosis.
RESULTS: Treatment resulted in a significant increase in the mean +/- SEM base excess from -8.4 +/- 1.2 mmol/L immediately after birth to 0.3 +/- 1.1 mmol/L 120 minutes later. During the same period, sodium concentration significantly increased from 145.3 +/- 0.8 mmol/L to 147.8 +/- 0.7 mmol/L. Mean chloride concentration before NaHCO(3) administration was significantly lower in the acidotic calves (99.6 +/- 1.1 mmol/L) than in the control calves (104.1 +/- 0.9 mmol/L). Calcium concentration in acidotic calves decreased significantly from before to after treatment. Concentrations of potassium, magnesium, and inorganic phosphorus were not affected by treatment.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Administration of hypertonic NaHCO(3) solution to acidotic neonatal calves did not have any adverse effects on plasma concentrations of several commonly measured electrolytes or enzyme activities. The treatment volume used was smaller, compared with that for an isotonic solution, which makes it more practical for use in field settings.