Hematologic and biochemical characteristics of stranded green sea turtles

Duane T. March, Kimberly Vinette-Herrin, Andrew Peters, Ellen Ariel, David Blyde, Doug Hayward, Les Christidis, Brendan P. Kelaher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
33 Downloads (Pure)


To improve understanding of pathophysiologic processes occurring in green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) stranded along the east coast of Australia, we retrospectively examined the hematologic and biochemical blood parameters of 127 green turtles admitted to 2 rehabilitation facilities, Dolphin Marine Magic (DMM) and Taronga Zoo (TZ), between 2002 and 2016. The predominant size class presented was small immature animals (SIM), comprising 88% and 69% of admissions to DMM and TZ, respectively. Significant differences in blood profiles were noted between facility, size, and outcome. Elevated levels of aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and heterophils were poor prognostic indicators in animals from TZ, but not DMM. SIM animals at both institutions had lower protein levels than large older (LO) animals. SIM animals at DMM also had lower hematocrit and monocyte concentration; SIM animals at TZ had lower heterophil counts. Urea was measured for 27 SIM animals from TZ, but the urea-to-uric acid ratio was not prognostically useful. Strong correlations were seen between AST and glutamate dehydrogenase (GDH; r = 0.68) and uric acid and bile acids (r = 0.72) in the 45 SIM animals from DMM in which additional analytes were measured. ?2 contingency tests showed that the most recently published reference intervals were not prognostically useful. A paired t-test showed that protein levels rose and heterophil numbers fell in the 15 SIM animals from TZ during the rehabilitation process. Our results indicate that further work is required to identify reliable prognostic biomarkers for green turtles.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)423-429
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation
Issue number3
Early online date13 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - May 2018

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