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Evaluation of changes in hematologic and clinical biochemical values after exposure to petroleum products in mink (Mustela vison) as a model for assessment of sea otters (Enhydra lutris)

Jonna K. MazetWildlife Health Center, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.

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Ian A. GardnerDepartment of Medicine and Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.

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David A. JessupMarine Wildlife Veterinary Care and Research Center, California Department of Fish and Game, 1451 Shaffer Rd, Santa Cruz, CA 95060.

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Linda J. LowenstineDepartment of Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.

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Walter M. BoyceDepartment of Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.

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 DVM, PhD

Abstract

Objective—To determine the effects of petroleum exposure on hematologic and clinical biochemical results of mink and to identify variables that may be useful for making management decisions involving sea otters (Enhydra lutris) that have been exposed to oil in their environment.

Animals—122 American mink (Mustela vison).

Procedures—Mink were exposed once to a slick of oil (Alaskan North Slope crude oil or bunker C fuel oil) on seawater or via low-level contamination of their daily rations.

Results—In the acute phase of exposure, petroleum directly affected RBC, WBC, neutrophil, and lymphocyte counts, fibrinogen, sodium, calcium, creatinine, total protein, and cholesterol concentrations, and alanine transaminase, creatine kinase, alkaline phosphatase, and γ−glutamyltransferase activities. Aspartate transaminase, alkaline phosphatase, γ− glutamyltransferase, and lactate dehydrogenase activities and cholesterol concentration also varied as a result of chronic low-level contamination of feed.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Our results are in agreement with reports that attribute increased alanine transaminase and alkaline phosphatase activities and decreased total protein concentration to petroleum exposure in sea otters during an oil spill. Sodium, calcium, creatinine, cholesterol, and lactate dehydrogenase may be valuable variables to assess for guidance during initial treatment of sea otters exposed to oil spills as well as for predicting which petroleum-exposed sea otters will reproduce following an oil spill. Measurement of these variables should aid wildlife professionals in making decisions regarding treatment of sea otters after oil spills. (Am J Vet Res 2000;61: 1197–1203)

Abstract

Objective—To determine the effects of petroleum exposure on hematologic and clinical biochemical results of mink and to identify variables that may be useful for making management decisions involving sea otters (Enhydra lutris) that have been exposed to oil in their environment.

Animals—122 American mink (Mustela vison).

Procedures—Mink were exposed once to a slick of oil (Alaskan North Slope crude oil or bunker C fuel oil) on seawater or via low-level contamination of their daily rations.

Results—In the acute phase of exposure, petroleum directly affected RBC, WBC, neutrophil, and lymphocyte counts, fibrinogen, sodium, calcium, creatinine, total protein, and cholesterol concentrations, and alanine transaminase, creatine kinase, alkaline phosphatase, and γ−glutamyltransferase activities. Aspartate transaminase, alkaline phosphatase, γ− glutamyltransferase, and lactate dehydrogenase activities and cholesterol concentration also varied as a result of chronic low-level contamination of feed.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Our results are in agreement with reports that attribute increased alanine transaminase and alkaline phosphatase activities and decreased total protein concentration to petroleum exposure in sea otters during an oil spill. Sodium, calcium, creatinine, cholesterol, and lactate dehydrogenase may be valuable variables to assess for guidance during initial treatment of sea otters exposed to oil spills as well as for predicting which petroleum-exposed sea otters will reproduce following an oil spill. Measurement of these variables should aid wildlife professionals in making decisions regarding treatment of sea otters after oil spills. (Am J Vet Res 2000;61: 1197–1203)