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1 March 2018 REFERENCE RANGES AND AGE-RELATED AND DIVING EXERCISE EFFECTS ON HEMATOLOGY AND SERUM CHEMISTRY OF FEMALE STELLER SEA LIONS (EUMETOPIAS JUBATUS)
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Abstract

Decreased health may have lowered the birth and survival rates of Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) in the Gulf of Alaska and Aleutian Islands over the past 30 yr. Reference ranges for clinical hematology and serum chemistry parameters needed to assess the health of wild sea lion populations are limited. Here, blood parameters were serially measured in 12 captive female Steller sea lions ranging in age from 3 wk to 16 yr to establish baseline values and investigate age-related changes. Whether diving activity affects hematology parameters in animals swimming in the ocean compared with animals in a traditional aquarium setting was also examined. Almost all blood parameters measured exhibited significant changes with age. Many of the age-related changes reflected developmental life history changes, including a change in diet during weaning, an improvement of diving capacity, and the maturity of the immune system. Mean corpuscular hemoglobin and mean corpuscular volume were also higher in the ocean diving group compared with the aquarium group, likely reflecting responses to increased exercise regimes. These data provide ranges of hematology and serum chemistry values needed to evaluate and compare the health and nutritional status of captive and wild Steller sea lions.

Copyright 2018 by American Association of Zoo Veterinarians
Carling D. Gerlinsky, Martin Haulena, Andrew W. Trites, and David A.S. Rosen "REFERENCE RANGES AND AGE-RELATED AND DIVING EXERCISE EFFECTS ON HEMATOLOGY AND SERUM CHEMISTRY OF FEMALE STELLER SEA LIONS (EUMETOPIAS JUBATUS)," Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 49(1), 18-29, (1 March 2018). https://doi.org/10.1638/2017-0072R.1
Accepted: 1 October 2017; Published: 1 March 2018
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