The relationship between hematologic status and severity of tumor affliction in green turtles (Chelonia mydas) with fibropapillomatosis (FP) was examined. During 1 wk periods in July 1997 and July 1998, we bled 108 free-ranging green turtles from Pala'au (Molokai, Hawaii, USA) where FP is endemic. Blood was analyzed for hematocrit, estimated total solids, total white blood cell (WBC) count and differential WBC count. Each turtle was assigned a subjective tumor score ranging from 0 (no visible external tumors) to 3 (heavily tumored) that indicated the severity of FP. There was a progressive increase in monocytes and a decrease in all other hematologic parameters except heterophils and total numbers of white blood cells as tumor score increased. These data indicate that tumor score can relate to physiologic status of green turtles afflicted with FP, and that tumor score is a useful field monitor of severity of FP in this species.
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Vol. 35 • No. 4