Objective– Failure of passive transfer in neonatal alpacas is often corrected by IV administration of commercial camelid plasma. The goal of this study was to characterize changes in pulmonary function, gas exchange, and cardiovascular parameters associated with IV plasma transfusion.
Design– Prospective clinical study.
Setting– A university-based referral hospital.
Animals– Eleven clinically healthy alpaca crias (age: 1–18 days) with failure of passive transfer (IgG<8 g/L [800 mg/dL]).
Interventions– Thirty milliliters per kilogram of commercial camelid plasma was administered IV over 90 minutes. Before and after the transfusion, the following cardiopulmonary measurements were obtained: arterial blood gas analysis, pulmonary functional residual capacity (FRC), PCV, total plasma protein and echocardiographic M-mode measures. Additionally, central venous pressure and indirect arterial blood pressure were monitored throughout the plasma transfusion.
Measurements and Main Results– The IV plasma transfusion resulted in significantly reduced PCV (−5.4±5.1%), increased total plasma protein (+4±4 g/L [0.4±0.4 g/dL]), elevated central venous pressure and changes in left and right ventricular M-mode indices, consistent with plasma volume expansion. Transfusion was further associated with a significant increase in arterial oxygen pressure (PaO2) (+11.2±15 mm Hg) and decrease in FRC (−5.6±8.3 mL/kg).
Conclusions– IV administration of 30 mL/kg camelid plasma to neonatal crias resulted in measurable plasma volume expansion and a concurrent reduction in FRC. Administration of this quantity of plasma appeared to be safe in healthy neonatal crias. However, changes in lung volume associated with plasma administration may create risks for crias with underlying cardiopulmonary or systemic disease.