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Vet Res Commun. 1987;11(5):479-91.

The efficacy of dexamethasone and flunixin meglumine in treating endotoxin-induced changes in calves.

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  • 1Department of Veterinary Physiology and Pharmacology, Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine, West Lafayette, IN 47907.


Eicosanoids have been implicated in the pathophysiology of endotoxic shock. Drugs which alter eicosanoid production such as corticosteroids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) are beneficial in treating endotoxic shock. Experiments were conducted to investigate the efficacy of dexamethasone, a corticosteroid, and/or flunixin meglumine, a NSAID, in treating endotoxin-induced changes in calves. Fourteen male calves were assigned to one of four treatment groups: group 1, endotoxin-untreated; group 2, endotoxin-flunixin meglumine treated; group 3, endotoxin-dexamethasone-treated; group 4, endotoxin-flunixin meglumine and dexamethasone-treated. Each calf was given three intravenous and intraperitoneal injections of E. coli endotoxin. Hemodynamic, blood gas, blood chemical and eicosanoid level determinations were obtained. Thirty minutes after endotoxin injection, pulmonary artery pressure (PAP) increased and cardiac output (CO) decreased compared with baseline, corresponding to increased thromboxaneB2 levels in groups 1 and 3. These groups exhibited a decreased mean arterial pressure (MAP) at three and five hours corresponding to increased 6-keto-prostaglandinF1 alpha. The MAP, PAP and CO of group 4 remained near baseline for the entire six hours, except for a late drop in MAP. Lactic acid levels were significantly increased and arterial bicarbonate levels were reduced by six hours in all groups except for group 4. These results indicate that the combination treatment of flunixin meglumine and dexamethasone prevents many of the metabolic derangements observed during endotoxic shock in calves.

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