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Hematologic and plasma biochemical findings in cold-stunned Kemp's ridley turtles: 176 cases (2001–2005)

Charles J. InnisNew England Aquarium, 1 Central Wharf, Boston, MA 02110.

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Jared B. RavichCummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, North Grafton, MA 01536.

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Michael F. TlustyNew England Aquarium, 1 Central Wharf, Boston, MA 02110.

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Melissa S. HogeNew England Aquarium, 1 Central Wharf, Boston, MA 02110.

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Denise S. WunnIDEXX Laboratories, 3 Centennial Dr, North Grafton, MA 01536.

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Leslie B. Boerner-NevilleNew England Aquarium, 1 Central Wharf, Boston, MA 02110.

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Constance MerigoNew England Aquarium, 1 Central Wharf, Boston, MA 02110.

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E. Scott Weber IIINew England Aquarium, 1 Central Wharf, Boston, MA 02110.

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Abstract

Objective—To document hematologic and plasma biochemical values for a large number of cold-stunned Kemp's ridley turtles at the beginning of rehabilitation, to investigate differences in hematologic and plasma biochemical values of turtles that ultimately survived versus those that died, and to compare values of survivors during convalescence with initial values obtained at the time of admission.

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—176 stranded, cold-stunned Kemp's ridley turtles hospitalized between 2001 and 2005.

Procedures—Hematologic and plasma biochemical values obtained at the time of admission were compared retrospectively for turtles that died versus turtles that survived. Initial results for survivors were compared with convalescent results obtained later in rehabilitation.

Results—Turtles that died had significantly greater plasma concentrations of sodium, chloride, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, and uric acid than did turtles that survived. For survivors, values obtained during convalescence for BUN concentration and plasma calcium concentration were significantly greater than initial values obtained at the time of admission, whereas values obtained during convalescence for glucose, sodium, and uric acid concentrations were significantly lower than initial values.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Cold-stunned Kemp's ridley turtles may be affected by electrolyte derangements, dehydration, and decreased renal function. Hematologic and plasma biochemical evaluation of such turtles provided useful clinical and prognostic information during the rehabilitation process.

Abstract

Objective—To document hematologic and plasma biochemical values for a large number of cold-stunned Kemp's ridley turtles at the beginning of rehabilitation, to investigate differences in hematologic and plasma biochemical values of turtles that ultimately survived versus those that died, and to compare values of survivors during convalescence with initial values obtained at the time of admission.

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—176 stranded, cold-stunned Kemp's ridley turtles hospitalized between 2001 and 2005.

Procedures—Hematologic and plasma biochemical values obtained at the time of admission were compared retrospectively for turtles that died versus turtles that survived. Initial results for survivors were compared with convalescent results obtained later in rehabilitation.

Results—Turtles that died had significantly greater plasma concentrations of sodium, chloride, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, and uric acid than did turtles that survived. For survivors, values obtained during convalescence for BUN concentration and plasma calcium concentration were significantly greater than initial values obtained at the time of admission, whereas values obtained during convalescence for glucose, sodium, and uric acid concentrations were significantly lower than initial values.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Cold-stunned Kemp's ridley turtles may be affected by electrolyte derangements, dehydration, and decreased renal function. Hematologic and plasma biochemical evaluation of such turtles provided useful clinical and prognostic information during the rehabilitation process.

Contributor Notes

Dr. Weber's present address is Department of Medicine and Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA 95616.

Address correspondence to Dr. Innis.