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  • Author or Editor: Kendal E. Harr x
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Objective—To measure plasma concentration of ionized calcium in healthy green iguanas.

Design—Prospective study.

Animals—9 juvenile and 21 (10 male, 11 female) adult iguanas.

Procedure—Blood samples were obtained from each iguana, and plasma calcium, glucose, phosphorus, uric acid, total protein, albumin, globulin, potassium, and ionized calcium concentrations, aspartate transaminase (AST) activity, and pH were measured. Heparinized blood was used for measurement of ionized calcium concentration and blood pH. A CBC was also performed to assess the health of the iguanas.

Results—Significant differences were not detected among the 3 groups (juveniles, males, and females) with regard to ionized calcium concentration. Mean ionized calcium concentration measured in blood was 1.47 ± 0.105 mmol/L. Significant differences were detected between juveniles and adults for values of phosphorus, glucose, total protein, albumin, globulin, and AST activity.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Ionized calcium concentration provides a clinical measurement of the physiologically active calcium in circulation. Evaluation of physiologically active calcium in animals with suspected calcium imbalance that have total plasma calcium concentrations within reference range or in gravid animals with considerably increased total plasma calcium concentrations is vital for determining a therapeutic plan. Accurate evaluation of calcium status will provide assistance in the diagnosis of renal disease and seizures and allow for better evaluation of the health status of gravid female iguanas. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;219:326–328)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To determine blood cell morphologic characteristics and hematologic and plasma biochemical reference ranges for iguanas housed in a warm indoor and outdoor environment with regular exposure to direct sunlight.

Design—Original study.

Animals—51 clinically normal iguanas (18 males, 25 females, and 8 juveniles) housed in 3 Florida locations.

Procedure—Blood was collected from the coccygeal or ventral abdominal vein. Any samples that had obvious hemolysis or clot formation were not used. Leukocyte counts were determined manually; other hematologic values were obtained by use of a commercially available cell counter. Plasma biochemical values were determined by use of a spectrophotometric chemistry analyzer. Blood smears were stained with Wright-Giemsa and cytochemical stains for morphologic and cytochemical evaluation.

Results—Hematologic ranges were generally higher in this study than previously reported. Thrombocytes were variable in appearance between individuals and sometimes difficult to distinguish from lymphocytes on a Wright-Giemsa preparation. Concentrations of calcium, phosphorus, total protein, globulins, and cholesterol were significantly higher, and the albumin:globulin ratio was significantly lower, in healthy gravid females than in male or nongravid female iguanas. Nongravid females had significantly higher calcium and cholesterol concentrations, compared with males. The calcium:phosphorus ratio was > 1 in all iguanas. Gravid females had a calcium phosphorus product ranging between 210 and 800. Intracytoplasmic inclusions were identified within the erythrocytes of some iguanas.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Hematologic ranges for iguanas in this study are higher than those reported for iguanas. Sex and age of the iguana should be considered when evaluating biochemical values. Healthy ovulating and gravid females may have significantly increased electrolyte and protein concentrations, but maintain a calcium:phosphorus ratio > 1. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;218:915–921)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association