Capture myopathy and associated death have been reported with capture and restraint of greater flamingos (Phoenicopterus ruber roseus) and lesser flamingos (Phoeniconaias minor). In chickens (Gallus gallus), blood lactate concentration levels have been used as indicators of muscle damage. Lactate has also been used to predict survival in humans and dogs. The goals of this study were to validate two common methods for measuring lactate (i-STAT® and VetTest® analyzers) in flamingo plasma by comparing measurements to a reference analyzer; and to correlate blood lactate concentration levels in captured flamingos with the duration and difficulty of capture as a possible indicator of capture myopathy. Twenty-seven banked flamingo plasma samples were run in triplicate on each of the three blood analyzers. Values from the i-STAT analyzer were consistently lower than those from the ABL analyzer, while values from the VetTest were consistently higher than those from the ABL analyzer. However, there was a good level of correlation between all three analyzers. Two of the three analyzers were determined to have acceptable total allowable error levels, calculated at 3.6% for the ABL and 10.7% for the VetTest. For clinical purposes, both the i-STAT and the VetTest analyzers provide adequate evaluation of lactate levels when serial samples are measured on the same analyzer. After validating the assay, 34 captive flamingos were captured for routine examinations. Blood lactate concentration levels were positively correlated with the length of time of the individual capture, but lactate did not increase significantly as capture difficulty increased. Only one animal was considered to have a difficult capture. No flamingos demonstrated clinical signs of capture myopathy during this study. Further research is required to determine if blood lactate concentration is a useful indicator of capture myopathy.
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