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J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2001 Mar 15;218(6):907-11.

Intragastric pH in critically ill neonatal foals and the effect of ranitidine.

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  • 1Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville 32610, USA.



To characterize intragastric pH profiles in critically ill foals and determine whether administration of ranitidine altered pH profiles.


Prospective observational study.


23 hospitalized neonatal foals < or = 4 days of age.


Intragastric pH was measured continuously for up to 24 hours by use of an indwelling electrode and continuous data recording system. In 21 foals, ranitidine was administered IV.


10 foals had predominantly or exclusively alkaline profiles, 10 had profiles typical of those reported for healthy foals, with periods of acidity (hourly mean pH < 5.0 at least once), and 3 had atypical profiles with periods of acidity. All 10 foals that had intragastric pH profiles typical of healthy foals survived, whereas only 2 foals with alkaline profiles survived, and none of the foals with atypical profiles survived. The effects of ranitidine administration could not be assessed in 13 foals because of a high baseline intragastric pH. In 7 of the remaining 9, ranitidine administration resulted in an alkalinizing response, but this response was often of blunted duration. Ranitidine administration did not appear to alter the intragastric pH profile in the remaining 2 foals.


Results suggested that hospitalized critically ill foals often have intragastric pH profiles different from those reported for healthy foals and may respond differently to ranitidine administration than do healthy foals. Many critically ill foals have continuously alkaline intragastric pH profiles, questioning the need for prophylactic administration of ranitidine in all critically ill foals.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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