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  • Author or Editor: Rachel E. Wilborn x
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Objective—To evaluate differences in Hct between 2 venipuncture sites in captive and free-ranging sharks.

Animals—32 healthy adult captive sharks (Carcharhinus melanopterus, Carcharhinus plumbeus, Stegastoma fasciatum, Orectolobus japonicus, and Triaenodon obesus) and 15 captured free-ranging adult sharks (Carcharhinus limbatus and Carcharhinus acronotus).

Procedures—Blood samples were collected from the caudal tail artery followed by collection from the sinus located immediately caudal to the cranial dorsal fin. The Hct was determined for each sample and results were compared. Additionally, results for sharks that were highly active and used aerobic metabolism were compared with results for sharks that were less active and tolerant of anaerobic conditions.

Results—Mean Hct for all sharks was significantly less (8% less) in blood samples obtained from the cranial dorsal fin sinus, compared with the Hct for samples obtained from the caudal tail artery. When compared on the basis of metabolic class, sharks that were more tolerant of anaerobic conditions had lower Hct values and smaller differences between the 2 venipuncture sites.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Hct values were significantly lower in blood samples collected from the cranial dorsal fin sinus compared with values for samples collected from the caudal tail artery. It is important to recognize this difference when evaluating hematologic variables in sharks and when establishing reference ranges for Hcts for shark populations. Sharks that were more active and relied on aerobic metabolism had higher Hct values than did anaerobic-tolerant sharks, and the difference in Hct values between venipuncture sites was more pronounced.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To establish reference ranges for critical care blood values measured in wild and aquarium-housed elasmobranchs by use of a point-of-care (POC) blood analyzer and to compare values on the basis of species category (pelagic, benthic, or intermediate) and phlebotomy site.

Design—Cross-sectional study.

Animals—66 wild and 89 aquarium-housed elasmobranchs (sharks and rays).

Procedures—Aquarium-housed elasmobranchs were anesthetized for sample collection; wild elasmobranchs were caught via hook and line fishing, manually restrained for sample collection, and released. Blood was collected from 2 sites/fish (dorsal sinus region and tail vasculature) and analyzed with the POC analyzer. Reference values of critical care blood analytes were calculated for species most represented in each population. Values were compared on the basis of species categorization (pelagic, intermediate, or benthic) and collection site.

Results—Oxygen saturation and circulating concentrations of lactate and glucose were significantly different among aquarium-housed pelagic, intermediate, and benthic species. Lactate concentration was significantly different among these categories in wild elasmobranchs. Significant differences were detected between samples from the 2 collection sites for all blood analytes. In both study populations, pH and lactate values were infrequently < 7.2 or > 5 mmol/L, respectively.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Brevity of handling or chemical restraint may have reduced secondary stress responses in fish because extreme variations in blood analyte values were infrequent. Sample collection site, species categorization, acclimation to handling, and restraint technique should be considered when assessing values obtained with the POC analyzer used in this study for blood analytes and immediate metabolic status in elasmobranchs.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association