Baseline hematologic and serum chemistry values are used by veterinarians and wildlife biologists to identify abnormally high or low levels of particular blood parameters in a target species. This vital information can assist animal care providers in making informed decisions on the care of wildlife and help to determine diagnoses for certain illnesses. Published blood parameter values are not available for wild-caught muskrats (Ondatra zibethicus). We measured 27 blood parameter values from 29 free-ranging, riparian muskrats caught from June–November 2008 in east-central Illinois, USA, and compared mean values between adults and juveniles. Adult muskrats had higher levels of globulins (F1,27=6.394, P≤0.018) and eosinophils (F1,25=6.883, P≤0.015) than did juvenile muskrats, possibly because of increased exposure to parasites and allergens over time.
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Vol. 47 • No. 3