Heavy metal toxicosis is a well-known phenomenon in wild, captive-animal, and domestic animal medicine. However, the occurrence among reptiles is not well documented. One reason for this is the lack of information regarding reference blood and tissue levels of heavy metals in reptiles. To determine normal blood lead, plasma zinc, and liver lead and zinc concentrations, blood and liver samples were collected from 4 adult and 16 juvenile, healthy green iguanas (Iguana iguana). Lead and zinc levels were measured using atomic absorption spectroscopy. Using the mean ± two SD as the normal reference range, the present study suggests the following for captive common green iguana: 1) whole blood lead level: 0.06 ± 0.06 µg/ml; 2) plasma zinc level: 2.68 ± 1.66 µg/ml; 3) liver lead level (wet-weight basis): <1.0 ± 0.0 µg/g; 4) liver lead level (dry-weight basis): <3.0 ± 0.0 µg/g; 5) liver zinc level (wet-weight basis): 24.9 ± 11.6 µg/g; and 6) liver zinc level (dry-weight basis): 83.4 ± 44.6 µg/g. These values are fairly consistent with published reference levels in other mammalian and avian species.
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Vol. 40 • No. 3