Objective—To establish hematologic and biochemical reference values for the brown pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis).
Animals—31 captive, healthy, but permanently disabled pelicans and 35 wild-caught, healthy pelicans from a rehabilitation facility on the east coast of Florida.
Procedures—Samples of venous blood were collected from each pelican, and hematologic, plasma biochemical, and electrophoretic protein analyses were performed. Student t-tests were used to compare blood values between captive versus wild-caught, adult male versus adult female, and adult versus juvenile pelicans.
Results—Hematologic and electrophoretic values were similar between male and female, adult and juvenile, and captive and wild-caught pelicans. Significant sex differences existed for plasma calcium and triglyceride concentrations. Plasma concentrations of calcium, cholesterol, and CO2 content differed between captive and wild-caught adults. No significant differences were found between wild-caught adult and juvenile pelicans.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Our plasma biochemical results are similar to those of other brown pelicans and confamilial species. Additional studies on seabirds are encouraged, as age, sex, reproductive status, feeding habits, and captivity are important variables for health assessment in this and other aquatic species. (Am J Vet Res 2000;61:771–774)