OBJECTIVE To evaluate the effects of storage conditions and duration on cobalamin concentration in serum samples from dogs and cats.
SAMPLE Serum samples from 9 client-owned cats and 9 client-owned dogs.
PROCEDURES Serum harvested from freshly obtained blood samples was separated into 11 aliquots/animal. One aliquot (baseline sample) was routinely transported in light-protected tubes to the laboratory for cobalamin assay; each of the remaining aliquots was stored in a refrigerator (6°C; n = 5) or at room temperature (20°C) with exposure to daylight (5) for 24, 48, 72, 96, or 120 hours. Aliquots were subsequently wrapped in aluminum foil, frozen (−20°C), and then transported to the laboratory for measurement of cobalamin concentration, all in the same run. Percentage decrease in cobalamin concentration from baseline was analyzed by means of linear mixed modeling.
RESULTS No differences in cobalamin values were identified between cats and dogs; therefore, data for both species were analyzed together. Median baseline serum cobalamin concentration was 424 ng/L (range, 178 to 1,880 ng/L). Values for serum samples stored with daylight exposure at room temperature were significantly lower over time than were values for refrigerated samples. Although values for refrigerated samples did not decrease significantly from baseline values over time, values for the other storage condition did; however, the mean percentage decrease for serum samples stored at room temperature was small (0.14%/h; 95% confidence interval, 0.07% to 0.21%/h).
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Overall, serum cobalamin concentration appeared stable for 5 days when feline and canine serum samples were refrigerated at 6°C. The effect of light and room temperature on serum cobalamin concentration, although significant, was quite small for samples stored with these exposures for the same 5-day period.