Normal hematologic and blood chemistry values for clinical use and age-related changes are reported as reference values for the endangered Bearded Vulture (Gypaetus barbatus). Blood samples were obtained from 21 nestlings and 26 free-living subadults and adults. No significant differences were found between subadults and adults or between sexes for any of the studied parameters. Reference ranges have been established for Bearded Vulture nestlings (less than 3 mo of age) and for free-living Bearded Vultures, with subadult and adult data combined without affecting clinical interpretation. Some reference values for the parameters reported in this study are similar to those previously described for vultures and other raptor species, although creatine phosphokinase and lactate dehydrogenase activities were higher than those reported for birds of prey. Significant age-related differences were identified in urea, uric acid, triglycerides, total serum protein, inorganic phosphorus, and magnesium concentrations, as well as aspartate aminotransferase, creatine phosphokinase, lactate dehydrogenase, alkaline phosphatase, amylase, and lipase activities (P<0.05). Additionally, significant age-related differences were noted in red and white blood cell counts, packed cell volume, hemoglobin concentration, mean corpuscular volume, mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration, fibrinogen level, and heterophils, lymphocytes, and eosinophils (P<0.005). The results obtained from this study provide reference ranges that will be useful for evaluating the pathologic conditions and general health of Bearded Vulture populations and reveal the existence of important age-related differences in the species.
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Vol. 46 • No. 2