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Relationship between plasma iron concentration and gastric pH in captive adult bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus)

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  • 1 Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803.
  • | 2 Institute for Marine Mammal Studies, PO Box 207, Gulfport, MS 39502.
  • | 3 Institute for Marine Mammal Studies, PO Box 207, Gulfport, MS 39502.
  • | 4 Institute for Marine Mammal Studies, PO Box 207, Gulfport, MS 39502.
  • | 5 Institute for Marine Mammal Studies, PO Box 207, Gulfport, MS 39502.
  • | 6 Institute for Marine Mammal Studies, PO Box 207, Gulfport, MS 39502.
  • | 7 Louisiana Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory, School of Veterinary Medicine, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803.

Abstract

Objective—To determine the correlation between plasma iron concentrations and gastric pH in a population of captive Atlantic bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus).

Animals—6 adult female dolphins that ranged from 16 to 30 years of age.

Procedures—Blood and gastric samples were collected from each dolphin to allow measurement of plasma iron concentrations and gastric pH, respectively. Samples were collected each month for 12 months.

Results—Within each dolphin, plasma iron concentrations and gastric pH did not differ significantly over time. There was a strong negative correlation (r = −0.85) between plasma iron concentration and gastric pH, which suggested that dolphins with a lower gastric pH had a higher plasma iron concentration.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Analysis of results reported here suggested that gastric pH may play an important role in iron absorption in dolphins.

Contributor Notes

Dr. Mitchell's present address is Department of Veterinary Clinical Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL 61802.

Supported by the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies.

The authors thank Lana Courtney for assistance with sample processing.

Address correspondence to Dr. Mitchell.