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Hematologic and serum biochemical changes associated with Devil Facial Tumor Disease in Tasmanian Devils


Peck, S and Corkrey, R and Hamede, R and Jones, M and Canfield, P, Hematologic and serum biochemical changes associated with Devil Facial Tumor Disease in Tasmanian Devils, Veterinary Clinical Pathology, 45, (3) pp. 417-429. ISSN 0275-6382 (2016) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2016 American Society for Veterinary Clinical Pathology

DOI: doi:10.1111/vcp.12391


Background: Devil Facial Tumor Disease (DFTD) is an infectious tumor causing significant population declines in wild Tasmanian Devils. While clinical assessment and pathology have been well reported for DFTD, there is a lack of information on hematologic and biochemical alterations associated with DFTD.

Objectives: The purpose of the study was to determine hematologic and serum biochemical variation in healthy, wounded, and DFTD-affected Tasmanian Devils.

Methods: Blood samples were collected from wild Tasmanian Devils at 5 sites in Tasmania. Hematology and clinical biochemistry variables were compared between clinically healthy, wounded, and DFTD-affected devils. Differences were also analyzed among stages of DFTD, including individuals pre- and postclinical signs developing, and between ulcerated and nonulcerated DFTD tumors.

Results: Statistically significantly increased counts in WBC, neutrophils, and platelets, and concentration of fibrinogen, as well as decreased counts in lymphocytes, erythrocytes, and HGB concentration were observed in DFTD-affected devils compared to healthy devils. Activities of ALP, ALT, and GLDH, concentrations of sodium, potassium and albumin, and sodium-to-potassium ratio and albumin-to-globulin ratio were significantly lower, and AST activity was significantly higher in animals with DFTD when compared to clinically healthy animals. No significant differences were found among stages of DFTD or ulcerated and nonulcerated tumors.

Conclusions: The differences in hematology and clinical chemistry variables in devils with DFTD compared to healthy devils are nonspecific and reflective of acute phase response and inflammation, and anemia of chronic disease. Similar changes are observed with wounds but to a lesser extent.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:cancer, clinical pathology, Tasmanian Devil, wildlife, devil facial tumor disease
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Environmental management
Research Field:Conservation and biodiversity
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Terrestrial biodiversity
UTAS Author:Corkrey, R (Dr Ross Corkrey)
UTAS Author:Hamede, R (Dr Rodrigo Hamede Ross)
UTAS Author:Jones, M (Professor Menna Jones)
ID Code:116763
Year Published:2016
Web of Science® Times Cited:5
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2017-05-19
Last Modified:2017-10-31

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