American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) are one of the most studied crocodilian species in the world, yet blood and plasma biochemistry information is limited for juvenile alligators in their northern range, where individuals may be exposed to extreme abiotic and biotic stressors. We collected blood samples over a 2-yr period from 37 juvenile alligators in May, June, and July to establish reference intervals for 22 blood and plasma analytes. We observed no effect of either sex or blood collection time on any analyte investigated. However, our results indicate a significant correlation between a calculated body condition index and aspartate aminotransferase and creatine kinase. Glucose, total protein, and potassium varied significantly between sampling sessions. In addition, glucose and potassium were highly correlated between the two point-of-care devices used, although they were significantly lower with the i-STAT 1 CG8 cartridge than with the Vetscan VS2 Avian/Reptile Rotor. The reference intervals presented herein should provide baseline data for evaluating wild juvenile alligators in the northern portion of their range.
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Vol. 52 • No. 3