Evaluation of biochemical analytes in vitreous humor collected after death in West Indian manatees

René A. Varela Division of Marine Mammal Research and Conservation, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution, 5600 US 1 N, Ft Pierce, FL 34946.

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 MS, VMD
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Gregory D. Bossart Division of Marine Mammal Research and Conservation, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution, 5600 US 1 N, Ft Pierce, FL 34946.

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 VMD, PhD

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Abstract

Objective—To evaluate biochemical analytes in vitreous humor collected after death in West Indian manatees (Trichechus manatus latirostris).

Design—Prospective study.

Animals—73 West Indian manatees of various ages and both sexes.

Procedure—The condition of manatee carcasses submitted for routine postmortem examination was categorized as fresh, moderately autolyzed, or severely autolyzed. The eyes were removed, frozen for shipping, and thawed on arrival at the laboratory. Vitreous humor was extracted, and various biochemical analytes were measured. Values for each analyte were compared with published reference ranges for corresponding biochemical analytes in serum. Values were also compared among the carcass condition groups.

Results—Creatinine and urea nitrogen concentrations in vitreous humor were significantly higher in severely autolyzed carcasses than in fresh carcasses. Potassium concentrations in vitreous humor were significantly higher in moderately autolyzed carcasses than in fresh carcasses but were highly variable in severely autolyzed carcasses. These data were consistent with those reported in other species.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicate that measurement of biochemical analytes in vitreous humor of manatees is feasible and has potential for assisting in the postmortem diagnosis of certain metabolic, renal, and nutritional diseases; determining severity of autolysis at time of necropsy; and determining the time of occurrence of human-induced trauma. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2005;226:88–92)

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate biochemical analytes in vitreous humor collected after death in West Indian manatees (Trichechus manatus latirostris).

Design—Prospective study.

Animals—73 West Indian manatees of various ages and both sexes.

Procedure—The condition of manatee carcasses submitted for routine postmortem examination was categorized as fresh, moderately autolyzed, or severely autolyzed. The eyes were removed, frozen for shipping, and thawed on arrival at the laboratory. Vitreous humor was extracted, and various biochemical analytes were measured. Values for each analyte were compared with published reference ranges for corresponding biochemical analytes in serum. Values were also compared among the carcass condition groups.

Results—Creatinine and urea nitrogen concentrations in vitreous humor were significantly higher in severely autolyzed carcasses than in fresh carcasses. Potassium concentrations in vitreous humor were significantly higher in moderately autolyzed carcasses than in fresh carcasses but were highly variable in severely autolyzed carcasses. These data were consistent with those reported in other species.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicate that measurement of biochemical analytes in vitreous humor of manatees is feasible and has potential for assisting in the postmortem diagnosis of certain metabolic, renal, and nutritional diseases; determining severity of autolysis at time of necropsy; and determining the time of occurrence of human-induced trauma. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2005;226:88–92)

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