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Evaluation of critical care blood analytes assessed with a point-of-care portable blood analyzer in wild and aquarium-housed elasmobranchs and the influence of phlebotomy site on results

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  • 1 John G. Shedd Aquarium, 1200 Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605.
  • | 2 Chicago Zoo and Aquatic Animal Residency, University of Illinois, College of Veterinary Medicine, Urbana, IL 61802.
  • | 3 John G. Shedd Aquarium, 1200 Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605.
  • | 4 Chicago Zoo and Aquatic Animal Residency, University of Illinois, College of Veterinary Medicine, Urbana, IL 61802.
  • | 5 John G. Shedd Aquarium, 1200 Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605.
  • | 6 Dynasty Marine Assoc Inc, 10602 7th Ave Gulf, Marathon, FL 33050.

Abstract

Objective—To establish reference ranges for critical care blood values measured in wild and aquarium-housed elasmobranchs by use of a point-of-care (POC) blood analyzer and to compare values on the basis of species category (pelagic, benthic, or intermediate) and phlebotomy site.

Design—Cross-sectional study.

Animals—66 wild and 89 aquarium-housed elasmobranchs (sharks and rays).

Procedures—Aquarium-housed elasmobranchs were anesthetized for sample collection; wild elasmobranchs were caught via hook and line fishing, manually restrained for sample collection, and released. Blood was collected from 2 sites/fish (dorsal sinus region and tail vasculature) and analyzed with the POC analyzer. Reference values of critical care blood analytes were calculated for species most represented in each population. Values were compared on the basis of species categorization (pelagic, intermediate, or benthic) and collection site.

Results—Oxygen saturation and circulating concentrations of lactate and glucose were significantly different among aquarium-housed pelagic, intermediate, and benthic species. Lactate concentration was significantly different among these categories in wild elasmobranchs. Significant differences were detected between samples from the 2 collection sites for all blood analytes. In both study populations, pH and lactate values were infrequently < 7.2 or > 5 mmol/L, respectively.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Brevity of handling or chemical restraint may have reduced secondary stress responses in fish because extreme variations in blood analyte values were infrequent. Sample collection site, species categorization, acclimation to handling, and restraint technique should be considered when assessing values obtained with the POC analyzer used in this study for blood analytes and immediate metabolic status in elasmobranchs.

Abstract

Objective—To establish reference ranges for critical care blood values measured in wild and aquarium-housed elasmobranchs by use of a point-of-care (POC) blood analyzer and to compare values on the basis of species category (pelagic, benthic, or intermediate) and phlebotomy site.

Design—Cross-sectional study.

Animals—66 wild and 89 aquarium-housed elasmobranchs (sharks and rays).

Procedures—Aquarium-housed elasmobranchs were anesthetized for sample collection; wild elasmobranchs were caught via hook and line fishing, manually restrained for sample collection, and released. Blood was collected from 2 sites/fish (dorsal sinus region and tail vasculature) and analyzed with the POC analyzer. Reference values of critical care blood analytes were calculated for species most represented in each population. Values were compared on the basis of species categorization (pelagic, intermediate, or benthic) and collection site.

Results—Oxygen saturation and circulating concentrations of lactate and glucose were significantly different among aquarium-housed pelagic, intermediate, and benthic species. Lactate concentration was significantly different among these categories in wild elasmobranchs. Significant differences were detected between samples from the 2 collection sites for all blood analytes. In both study populations, pH and lactate values were infrequently < 7.2 or > 5 mmol/L, respectively.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Brevity of handling or chemical restraint may have reduced secondary stress responses in fish because extreme variations in blood analyte values were infrequent. Sample collection site, species categorization, acclimation to handling, and restraint technique should be considered when assessing values obtained with the POC analyzer used in this study for blood analytes and immediate metabolic status in elasmobranchs.

Contributor Notes

Dr. Mylniczenko's present address is Disney's Animals, Science & Environment, PO Box 10,000, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830.

Dr. Zachariah's present address is Brevard Zoo, 8225 N Wickham Rd, Melbourne, FL 32940.

Ms. Wilborn's present address is Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies, Rosenstiel School for Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami, Miami, FL 33149.

Supported by the John G. Shedd Aquarium and Chicago Zoological Society. The point-of-care blood analyzer products used in this study were provided by Dr. Nancy Wisnewski at Heska Corp.

The authors thank Dr. Dawn Zimmerman, George Parsons, Stacy Schultz, and Dr. Michelle Davis for technical support and the John G. Shedd Aquarium and Chicago Zoological Society for provision of equipment.

Address correspondence to Dr Naples (lnaples@sheddaquarium.org.