The objectives of this study were to compare the hematology and serum chemistry values between free-ranging and stranded harbor seal (Phoca vitulina richardsi) pups and to ascertain how blood values of stranded pups changed during the rehabilitation process. Coincident with these comparisons, reference values were obtained for free-ranging pups. Stranded harbor seal pups (n=28) recovered from areas between Pebble Beach and Moss Landing, California (USA) were admitted to The Marine Mammal Center, Sausalito, from March to May 1995, 1996, and 1998. Blood samples were collected from harbor seal pups before and after rehabilitation. As a control group, wild harbor seal pups were captured at Pebble Beach and Elkhorn Slough (n=42) during the 1995, 1996, and 1998 pupping seasons. Mean eosinophil and calcium values of wild pups were significantly greater than those of newly admitted pups, whereas mean bands, aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase, total bilirubin, and chloride values were significantly lower (P≤0.05). Mean neutrophil, band, lymphocyte, eosinophil, basophil, calcium, phosphorus, blood urea nitrogen, potassium, total protein, and globulin values of rehabilitated pups increased significantly after 2–3 mo in captivity, whereas, mean red blood cell, hemoglobin, hematocrit, cholesterol, and total bilirubin values decreased significantly (P≤0.05).
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Vol. 39 • No. 3