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Hematologic and serum biochemical reference intervals for wild Tasmanian devils (Sarcophilus harrisii)


Peck, S and Corkrey, R and Hamede, R and Jones, M and Canfield, P, Hematologic and serum biochemical reference intervals for wild Tasmanian devils (Sarcophilus harrisii), Veterinary Clinical Pathology, 44, (4) pp. 519-529. ISSN 0275-6382 (2015) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2015 American Society for Veterinary Clinical Pathology

DOI: doi:10.1111/vcp.12304


Background: The Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) is a carnivorous marsupial threatened with extinction by a fatally infectious cancer known as devil facial tumor disease (DFTD). Conservation efforts including captive breeding and island translocations are underway to address this threat.

Objectives: The objectives of this study were to determine hematologic and serum biochemical reference intervals (RI) to aid in health assessment of Tasmanian devils, and to examine seasonal, sex, reproductive status and age variations.

Methods: We collected jugular blood samples from individual wild Tasmanian devils at 2 different locations over a 2-year period to determine hematologic and serum biochemical RI by nonparametric methods using the central 0.95 fraction.

Results: A total of 307 blood samples were collected from 187 devils. Significant age differences were found for ALP, CK, cholesterol, calcium, phosphate, albumin, globulins, albumin: globulin ratio, and glucose. Significant differences between sexes were observed for AST, creatinine, and potassium. Significant seasonal or reproductive status variation in adult males or breeding females were observed for PCV, HGB, RBC, MCHC, MCH, MCV, neutrophils and lymphocytes, fibrinogen, total plasma protein, AST, ALP, ALT, GLDH, bilirubin, urea, calcium, chloride, total protein, albumin, A:G, and glucose.

Conclusions: Many of the differences observed between subgroups can be explained by growth requirements, reproductive demands, and seasonal effects on activity. This study has determined comprehensive RI for the Tasmanian devil, which will be used to assess animals targeted for captive breeding and translocations, or affected by DFTD.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:tasmanian devil, reference ranges, clinical pathology, health assessment, marsupial, wildlife
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:104966
Year Published:2015
Web of Science® Times Cited:11
Deposited By:Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture
Deposited On:2015-12-01
Last Modified:2017-10-31

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