Changes in inflammatory marker concentrations or activity can be used to monitor health and disease condition of domestic animals but have not been applied with the same frequency to wildlife. We measured concentrations or activity of six inflammatory markers (ceruloplasmin, haptoglobin, mannan-binding lectin-dependent complement [MBL/complement], unsaturated iron–binding capacity (UIBC) and total iron–binding capacity (TIBC), and plasma iron) in apparently healthy and sick or injured Red-tailed Hawks (Buteo jamaicensis). Haptoglobin and ceruloplasmin activities were consistently elevated in sick or injured hawks (2.1 and 2.5 times higher, respectively), and plasma iron concentrations decreased (0.46 times lower), relative to those of healthy birds. There were no differences between healthy and unhealthy hawks in TIBC and UIBC concentrations or MBL/complement activity. Therefore, haptoglobin, ceruloplasmin, and plasma iron would be useful inclusions in a panel of inflammatory markers for monitoring health in raptors.
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