Native to Southeast Asia, the Sunda pangolin (Manis javanica) is critically endangered largely because of poorly regulated wildlife trade, consumptive practices, and use in traditional Chinese medicine. Efforts to rescue and rehabilitate animals confiscated from the illegal trade are complicated by a general lack of knowledge surrounding the normal health and disease processes unique to the species. To provide clinical reference intervals for normal health states of Sunda pangolins, biochemical parameters were determined from rescued individuals in Vietnam that had undergone a 14-day observation period and met a set of criteria for release back into the wild. Blood samples were collected from 42 apparently healthy Sunda pangolins while anesthetized or awake. Packed cell volume (PCV) and total solids (TS) were determined manually, and serum biochemistry values were determined in-house with a benchtop analyzer. Additional biochemical and mineral parameters not included in the primary panel were determined from a subset of 10 pangolins through an external diagnostic laboratory. Overall reference intervals were calculated for PCV and TS (n = 29) and for standard serum biochemistry parameters (n = 42). Females and males demonstrated significant variation with respect to body mass, potassium (K+), and phosphorus, whereas age was a significant source of variation in alkaline phosphatase. Seasonal variation in glucose (GLU), creatinine (CRE), total proteins, sodium, calcium, and K+ was also observed. Comparisons between anesthetized and awake pangolins demonstrated significant variation in GLU, CRE, and K+. The parameters determined in this study can serve as a clinical reference for ex situ Sunda pangolin conservation efforts. In the context of wildlife rehabilitation, serial bloodwork allows for continued monitoring of patient health and should inform decision making regarding release readiness and timing.
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