Serum chemistry values and complete blood counts were determined for 36 wild dusky-footed wood rats (Neotoma fuscipes) from Sonoma and western Yolo County, California (USA) in summer 1999 and spring 2001. All wood rats had adequate body condition and were hydrated. Many hematologic and biochemical values were comparable to those for house rat (Rattus rattus). There were differences between wood rats tested immediately after capture (those from Yolo County) and after a week of habituation in the laboratory (Sonoma County). Significant differences were noted in red blood cell counts, hemoglobin, hematocrit, neutrophil:lymphocyte ratio, glucose, alanine transaminase, aspartate aminotransferase, and alkaline phosphatase values. The neutrophil:lymphocyte ratio may have been iatrogenically modified in the wood rats tested immediately after capture by stress-induced neutrophilia and lymphopenia. Eosinophilia may have been associated with parasites such as botflies in four individuals, and hyperglycemia in three individuals could have been associated with stress. The cause of elevated enzymes in the animals tested after laboratory habituation is unclear. The hematologic and biochemical values of these apparently healthy wood rats provide valuable baseline information for use in further medical studies performed with this species.
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Vol. 38 • No. 3