Blood Gases, Biochemistry, and Hematology of Galapagos Green Turtles Chelonia MydasReport as inadecuate

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The green turtle, Chelonia mydas, is an endangered marine chelonian with a circum-global distribution. Reference blood parameter intervals have been published for some chelonian species, but baseline hematology, biochemical, and blood gas values are lacking from the Galapagos sea turtles. Analyses were done on blood samples drawn from 28 green turtles captured in two foraging locations on San Cristóbal Island 14 from each site. Of these turtles, 20 were immature and of unknown sex; the other eight were males five mature, three immature. A portable blood analyzer iSTAT was used to obtain near immediate field results for pH, lactate, pO2, pCO2, HCO3−, Hct, Hb, Na, K, iCa, and Glu. Parameter values affected by temperature were corrected in two ways: 1 with standard formulas; and 2 with auto-corrections made by the iSTAT. The two methods yielded clinically equivalent results. Standard laboratory hematology techniques were employed for the red and white blood cell counts and the hematocrit determination, which was also compared to the hematocrit values generated by the iSTAT. Of all blood analytes, only lactate concentrations were positively correlated with body size. All other values showed no significant difference between the two sample locations nor were they correlated with body size or internal temperature. For hematocrit count, the iSTAT blood analyzer yielded results indistinguishable from those obtained with high-speed centrifugation. The values reported in this study provide baseline data that may be useful in comparisons among populations and in detecting changes in health status among Galapagos sea turtles. The findings might also be helpful in future efforts to demonstrate associations between specific biochemical parameters and disease.

Author: Gregory A. Lewbart , Maximilian Hirschfeld, Judith Denkinger, Karla Vasco, Nataly Guevara, Juan García, Juanpablo Muñoz, Kennet



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