Over 200 clinically normal desert bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) from multiple geographic areas were sampled utilizing a uniform protocol. The goals of this study were to develop comprehensive reference intervals for hematologic and biochemical analytes using central 90th percentile nonparametric analyses. Adult female sheep had greater erythrocyte mass (hemoglobin and hematocrit) compared with adult male sheep. Young animals ≤ 1-yr-old had greater erythrocyte mass (hemoglobin, hematocrit and red blood cell count), higher alkaline phosphatase activity, and lower serum protein and globulin concentrations compared with adult animals. Because of the large sample size, wide geographic range, and uniform sample and handling protocol in this study, these reference intervals should be robust and applicable to other free-ranging desert bighorn sheep populations.
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Vol. 36 • No. 2