Effect of rapid intravenous administration of 50% dextrose solution on phosphorus homeostasis in postparturient dairy cows

Walter Grünberg, Dawn E Morin, James K Drackley, Peter D Constable

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND: Dextrose is commonly administered to postparturient dairy cows, which often have low plasma phosphorus concentration ([P]) as a result of anorexia and sudden onset of lactation. Intravenous (IV) dextrose administration causes hypophosphatemia in other species.

HYPOTHESIS: Bolus administration of dextrose to postparturient dairy cows results in a transient decrease in plasma [P].

ANIMALS: Six healthy postparturient dairy cows.

METHODS: Using a crossover design, cows were administered 500 mL of 50% dextrose solution IV or a sham treatment. Plasma concentrations of glucose ([glucose]), immunoreactive insulin ([IRI]), and phosphorus were monitored for 12 hours after each treatment. Urine [P], [glucose], and volume and salivary [P] were also determined.

RESULTS: Plasma [glucose], [IRI], and [P] were stable during sham treatment. Plasma [P] decreased rapidly after dextrose administration, dropping by 35% in 1 hour and remaining below baseline for 90 minutes. Salivary [P], urine [P], and urine volume per hour remained stable after dextrose administration, but glucose was detected in urine for up to 6 hours. The amount of glucose excreted in urine in 12 hours (11.9+/-4.5 g) was less than 5% of the administered dose. Regression analysis revealed a stronger association between plasma [P] and [IRI] than between plasma [P] and [glucose], suggesting that hyperinsulinemia drove the hypophosphatemia.

CONCLUSION AND CLINICAL IMPORTANCE: Results indicate that low plasma [P] should be expected in cows that have received IV dextrose within 1 hour before blood sampling. Caution is advised when administering dextrose solution to cows already at risk of hypophosphatemia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1471-8
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 26 Dec 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Animals
  • Area Under Curve
  • Blood Glucose/drug effects
  • Cattle/blood
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Dairying
  • Female
  • Glucose/pharmacokinetics
  • Glycosuria/veterinary
  • Infusions, Intravenous/veterinary
  • Insulin/metabolism
  • Lactation/metabolism
  • Phosphorus/blood
  • Postpartum Period/blood
  • Pregnancy
  • Urinalysis/veterinary


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