The effect of xylazine and xylazine followed 20 minutes later by insulin upon glucose metabolism and plasma insulin concentrations was examined in three cows. After doses of 0.18 mg per kg xylazine given intramuscularly (IM) or 0.15 mg per kg given intravenously (IV) hepatic glucose production increased, plasma insulin concentrations decreased to 25 to 33 per cent of control values, and there was a prolonged hyperglycaemia. When 200 units of soluble insulin were given 20 minutes after similar doses of xylazine there was a rapid fall in blood glucose and a reduction in the rate of glucose production by the liver. Xylazine-induced hyperglycaemia arose from a combination of increased hepatic glucose production and reduced plasma insulin concentrations. Peripheral tissues were still responsive to insulin and when adequate insulin was available blood glucose concentrations rapidly decreased.
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