The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of stress (as measured by total heterophil eosinophil counts [THECs] and plasma corticosterone [PC] levels) on plasma protein electrophoresis (PPE) in two Anseriform species. Ten red-breasted geese (Branta ruficollis) and eight Hawaiian geese (Branta sandvicensis) were received into quarantine at Beauval Zoo and housed together with other Anseriformes. Two days later, all were examined as part of routine quarantine procedures, and blood was collected. THECs were performed using a Malassez hemocytometer after a 1 : 200 dilution with an eosinophil dilution liquid containing phloxine B. PPE, as well as total protein and PC assays, was performed on lithium heparin plasma. Twenty days after arrival, all birds were similarly restrained, examined, and sampled. Pododermatitis lesions were identified on four geese that were excluded from statistical analysis. For each goose, THECs and PC values were sorted by value (lower or higher) independently from the day of sampling. A Wilcoxon signed rank test showed no significant differences between lower and higher values of THECs for any of the PPE fractions. Higher values of corticosterone were associated with higher values of prealbumin, but none of the other fractions were significantly different. A Spearman rank correlation coefficient showed that THECs and PC were not correlated; this suggested differences in kinetics between these stress markers. Results did not show significant alterations of electrophoresis patterns associated with stress as measured with THECs and PC. The results also highlight the complexity of precisely assessing acute and chronic stress in avian species.
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