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To establish normal values for pre- and post-prandial bile acids and protein C in Pacific harbor seal (Phoca vitulina richardsi) pups.


45 harbor seals undergoing rehabilitation at the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, 0 to 16 weeks, and deemed healthy aside from malnutrition or maternal separation.


Venous blood was collected from the intervertebral extradural sinus in fasted seals and again 2 hours after a fish meal.


The reference interval (90% CL, confidence limit) for pre-prandial (fasting) bile acids was 17.2 μmol/L to 25.4 μmol/L, post-prandial bile acids were 36.9 μmol/L to 46.4 μmol/L, and protein C was 72.3% to 85.4%, across ages. For comparison between developmental ages, pups were grouped into 3 age classes: < 14 days, 5 to 8 weeks, and 10 to 16 weeks. Age affected pre- and post-prandial bile acids; pups < 14 days had significantly higher pre-prandial bile acids (36.0 μmol/L ± 16.5 μmol/L; P < .0001) than other age groups and pups 5 to 8 weeks had significantly higher post-prandial bile acids (50.4 μmol/L ± 21.9 μmol/L; P < .001). Protein C was also affected by age, with seals < 14 days having significantly lower values (mean, 51.8% ± 16.7%; P < .0001).


This study established normal reference intervals for bile acids in harbor seal pups and offered a preliminary investigation into protein C in pinnipeds. The bile acid values from 0- to 16-week-old seal pups were well above established normal ranges for domestic species, highlighting the utility of age- and species-specific reference ranges. The values presented here and the differences across age classes will aid clinicians in accurately diagnosing hepatobiliary disease in harbor seal pups.

Open access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To identify risk factors that may predispose California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) to development of cutaneous poxvirus nodules during hospitalization in a rehabilitation center.

Design—Retrospective case-control study.

Animals—90 California sea lions admitted to a rehabilitation center.

Procedure—Hospital records of 275 stranded California sea lions admitted to the rehabilitation center between January 1 and December 31, 2002, were reviewed. All California sea lions (n = 18) that developed ≥ 1 cutaneous poxvirus nodule during hospitalization were classified as cases. Seventy-two California sea lions that did not develop poxvirus lesions during hospitalization were randomly selected (control group). The frequencies of various exposure factors prior to admission, at admission, and during hospitalization for cases and control sea lions were compared by use of logistic regression.

Results—California sea lions that had previously been admitted to the rehabilitation center were 43 times as likely to develop poxvirus lesions as sea lions admitted for the first time; those with high band neutrophil counts (> 0.69 × 103 bands/μL) at admission were 20 times less likely to develop poxvirus lesions than sea lions with counts within reference limits.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that sea lions with a history of prior hospitalization or band neutrophil counts within reference limits at admission were more likely to develop poxvirus lesions during hospitalization. Sea lions with histories of hospitalization should be kept in quarantine and infection control measures implemented to help prevent disease transmission to attending personnel and other hospitalized animals. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2005;227:467–473)

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


OBJECTIVE To determine population pharmacokinetics of enrofloxacin in purple sea stars (Pisaster ochraceus) administered an intracoelomic injection of enrofloxacin (5 mg/kg) or immersed in an enrofloxacin solution (5 mg/L) for 6 hours.

ANIMALS 28 sea stars of undetermined age and sex.

PROCEDURES The study had 2 phases. Twelve sea stars received an intracoelomic injection of enrofloxacin (5 mg/kg) or were immersed in an enrofloxacin solution (5 mg/L) for 6 hours during the injection and immersion phases, respectively. Two untreated sea stars were housed with the treated animals following enrofloxacin administration during both phases. Water vascular system fluid samples were collected from 4 sea stars and all controls at predetermined times during and after enrofloxacin administration. The enrofloxacin concentration in those samples was determined by high-performance liquid chromatography. For each phase, noncompartmental analysis of naïve averaged pooled samples was used to obtain initial parameter estimates; then, population pharmacokinetic analysis was performed that accounted for the sparse sampling technique used.

RESULTS Injection phase data were best fit with a 2-compartment model; elimination half-life, peak concentration, area under the curve, and volume of distribution were 42.8 hours, 18.9 μg/mL, 353.8 μg•h/mL, and 0.25 L/kg, respectively. Immersion phase data were best fit with a 1-compartment model; elimination half-life, peak concentration, and area under the curve were 56 hours, 36.3 μg•h/mL, and 0.39 μg/mL, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results suggested that the described enrofloxacin administration resulted in water vascular system fluid drug concentrations expected to exceed the minimum inhibitory concentration for many bacterial pathogens.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research