There are no published plasma biochemistry reference intervals for any species within the order Gaviiformes, which includes the common loon (Gavia immer). Because of their unique classification and lack of close taxonomic relatives, species-specific values for clinical data in loons are needed. This study determined reference intervals for plasma biochemical values in adult common loons, and reference intervals for protein electrophoresis values in both adult and juvenile common loons. Healthy, wild adult (n = 148, age >3 yr) and juvenile (n = 31, age 4–12 wk) common loons were sampled on freshwater summer breeding territories at study sites across North America. Plasma biochemical analytes included glucose (Glu), total calcium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, chloride, blood urea nitrogen (BUN), uric acid, cholesterol, triglycerides, creatine kinase, γ-glutamyl transferase, alkaline phosphatase (ALP), lactate dehydrogenase, aspartate aminotransferase, amylase, and bile acids. Protein electrophoresis data included albumin to globulin ratio (A: G), prealbumin, albumin, α1-globulin, α2-globulin, β-globulin, and γ-globulin. Adult females had significantly higher Glu, ALP, and BUN than adult males. Juvenile loons had higher β-globulins than adults, whereas adults had higher α1-globulins. Establishment of complete reference intervals will improve clinical assessment of captive loons, and allow researchers to better understand the health of wild loons in response to the multiple environmental stressors faced by these species.
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