To provide proper medical evaluation and care for the endangered California condor (Gymnogyps californianus), veterinarians need accurate hematologic and biochemical reference ranges. A retrospective study of blood samples from captive California condors housed at the San Diego Wild Animal Park assessed the samples by sex and age of condor to determine serum biochemical and hematologic reference ranges, including lead and zinc levels. Condors were grouped by age as follows: group 1 included birds less than 30 days of age; group 2 included birds between 30 days and 6 mo of age; group 3 included birds between 6 mo and 5 yr of age; group 4 included all birds greater than 5 yr of age. Significant differences between sexes included higher chloride, cholesterol, and total plasma protein concentration in males as compared to females (P < 0.05). Significant differences between age groups were identified in glucose, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, albumin, total plasma protein, globulin, cholesterol, bile acid, and zinc concentrations, as well as aspartate aminotransferase, alkaline phosphatase, lactate dehydrogenase, and creatine phosphokinase activities (P < 0.05). Additionally, significant differences between age groups were noted in white blood cell count, hematocrit, heterophils, lymphocytes, and eosinophils (P < 0.05). A steady increase in glucose and a decrease in alkaline phosphatase and lactate dehydrogenase activities, as well as cholesterol, bile acid, calcium, and phosphorus concentrations, were correlated with age (P < 0.05). Following application of statistical analysis, condors less than 6 mo of age were identified as unique compared to older cohorts; therefore, two reference ranges are proposed by calculating a 90% confidence interval. Reference ranges obtained from other published avian data, including those for psittaciformes, ratites, galliformes, anseriformes, and raptors, were similar to condors in this study.
Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine
Vol. 36 • No. 4
Vol. 36 • No. 4