The establishment of clinical pathology baseline data is critical to evaluate temporal and spatial changes in marine mammal groups. Despite increased availability of studies on hematology and biochemistry of marine mammals, reference ranges are lacking for many populations, especially among fur seal species. During the austral summers of 2014 and 2015, we evaluated basic hematologic and biochemical parameters in clinically healthy, physically restrained South American fur seal (Arctocephalus australis) lactating females and 2-mo-old pups. We also assessed the temporal variation of hematology parameters on the pups during their first 2 mo of life. Reference ranges of lactating females were similar to those previously reported in other fur seal species. In the case of pups, reference ranges are similar to values previously reported in sea lion species. As expected, most biochemical and hematologic values differ significantly between adult females and pups. As in other otariids, South American fur seals pups are born with higher values of total red blood cells, hemoglobin, and packed cell volume, and lower numbers of total leukocytes, neutrophils, lymphocytes, and eosinophils. To the best of our knowledge, data on hematology reference values for South American fur seals has not been previously reported and is useful for continued health monitoring of this species, as well as for comparisons with other otariid groups.
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Vol. 52 • No. 3