Serum samples from 63 clinically normal captive black and white ruffed lemurs (Varecia variegata variegata) were analyzed to survey serum iron, total iron binding capacity, transferrin saturation, and serum ferritin levels. Data analysis showed no differences in these analytes attributable to sex, but significantly higher levels of serum iron, transferrin saturation, and serum ferritin in older animals. The survey data were examined in light of two black and white ruffed lemurs that were treated for iron overload with serial phlebotomies. Prior to therapy, both phlebotomized lemurs had excess hepatic iron deposition, but had serum iron, transferrin saturation, and serum ferritin below the upper limits observed in the survey animals, suggesting that some clinically normal animals included in the survey may have accumulated excess systemic iron. Serial phlebotomy therapy reduced serum iron, transferrin saturation, and serum ferritin in both animals. Three years after the conclusion of therapy in the one remaining case, serum iron and transferrin saturation have risen substantially, whereas serum ferritin has risen slightly. Serum iron, transferrin saturation, and serum ferritin may be useful predictors of systemic iron stores in this species, though the correlation between these parameters and systemic iron stores needs to be determined.
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Vol. 36 • No. 4