Hemorrhagic disease associated with elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus infection is the most-frequent cause of mortality in captive Asian elephants (Elephas maximus). Survival relies on intensive monitoring of hemostatic status. Thromboelastography (TEG) utilizes whole blood samples containing all the blood components of hemostasis and is therefore a sensitive indicator of the clinical status in the patient. This study was performed to assess the practicability of TEG in Asian elephants in a zoo environment. Citrated stabilized whole blood samples were obtained from 44 healthy Asian elephants. Kaolin-activated TEG was performed on whole blood at 60 min and 24 hr postsampling (to replicate shipment to an external laboratory) as well as on freeze–thawed plasma samples, 12–14 mo postsampling. Reference intervals were calculated for fresh whole blood and freeze–thawed plasma samples. In the 24-hr analysis, storage artifacts, likely due to cellular degeneration, resulted in a hypercoagulable thromboelastogram and thus reduced sensitivity for detecting coagulopathies. Therefore, delayed analysis of whole blood samples is not recommended.
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