Goldstein, J. E. Reese, J. S. Reif, R.Varela, S. McCulloch, R. H. Defran, P. Fair and G.Bossart. 2006. Hematologic, biochemical and cytologic findings from clinically healthy Atlantic bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) inhabiting the Indian River Lagoon, Florida. Journal of Wildlife Diseases 42, In press.




The objective of this study was to establish reference baseline data for hematologic, biochemical and cytologic findings in apparently healthy Atlantic bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) inhabiting the Indian River Lagoon (IRL), FL.  We report the findings for 62 dolphins captured, examined and released during June 2003 and 2004.  Mean, standard deviation and range were calculated for each parameter. The values for parameters for which published data were available were close to or within the ranges previously reported for free-ranging bottlenose dolphins. No pathologic abnormalities were found microscopically in fecal and blowhole cytologic specimens. However, 24% (7/29) of the dolphins examined in 2003 had evidence of gastric inflammation, which was graded severe in 14 % (4/29) of the cases. In 2004, only, 4 % (1/24) of dolphins sampled had evidence of mild or moderate gastric inflammation, no severe inflammation was present. Dolphins with evidence of gastric inflammation were > 9 years of age and predominantly male. We also determined whether there were differences in hematologic and biochemical parameters based on gender, age, and pregnancy status.  Several statistically significant differences between males and females, pregnant and non-pregnant animals and juveniles (<6 years) and adults (>6 years) were found. However, the values remained within the established ranges for this species and the differences were not likely to be of clinical significance.


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