• Calves;
  • Dehydration;
  • Diarrhea;
  • Induction;
  • Treatment


The aim of this study was to compare the efficacy of treating osmotic diarrhea and dehydration in calves with hypertonic saline solution (HSS) IV, isotonic electrolyte solution (IES) PO, and a combination of these 2 solutions (HSS + IES).

Experimental Design

Eighteen male calves 8–30 days of age were used to evaluate the efficacy of 3 methods of fluid therapy after induction of osmotic diarrhea and dehydration. The diarrhea and dehydration were induced by administration of saccharose, spironolactone, and hydrochlorothiazide for 48 hours. The animals were randomly divided into 3 experimental groups: Group 1: 7.2% hypertonic saline solution-HSS (5 mL/kg IV); Group 2: oral isotonic electrolyte solution IES (60 mL/kg PO); or Group 3: HSS+IES. Clinical signs and laboratory finding observed 48 hours post-induction (Time 0) included diarrhea, dehydration, lethargy, and metabolic acidosis.


Calves treated with HSS + IES experienced decreases in hematocrit, total protein concentration, albumin concentration, urea nitrogen concentration, and plasma volume as well as increases in blood pH, blood bicarbonate concentration, and central venous pressure between 1 and 3 hours post-treatment. These findings also were observed in animals treated with IES, however, at a slower rate than in the HSS + IES-treated animals. Animals treated with HSS continued to display signs of dehydration, lethargy, and metabolic acidosis 24 hours post-treatment.


Treatment with a combination of HSS and IES produced rapid and sustainable correction of hypovolemia and metabolic acidosis in calves with noninfections diarrhea and dehydration.