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1 April 2021 CLINICAL PATHOLOGY OF CAPTIVE ENDANGERED MAHOGANY GLIDERS (PETAURUS GRACILIS) IN RESPONSE TO ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE
Lee McMichael, Dalene Adam, Andrew Tribe, Brian Bynon, Lana Bradshaw, Charlotte Langhorne, Julia Hoy, Peter Murray, Steven Kopp
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Abstract

The impetus of this study was the imperative to establish blood biomarker values for clinically healthy mahogany gliders (Petaurus gracilis) in order to monitor the health status of eight captive individuals during their movement to a new facility. The study established ranges for 18 hematologic and 21 biochemical blood biomarkers for healthy individuals in a captive environment. The reported values are consistent with those published for other Australian glider and possum species. No statistically significant differences were found between the sexes, but significant age effects were observed. Specifically, subadult animals reported significantly higher total white cell counts, lymphocyte counts, alkaline phosphatase, creatine kinase, and glucose and chloride levels, compared to adult animals. Although there were no clinically significant changes in blood biomarkers associated with the relocation, many of the hematologic and biochemical biomarkers demonstrated the expected changes associated with the physiological stress of relocation. Specifically, triglycerides, glucose, globulins, creatinine kinase, aspartate transferase (AST), total protein, urea, phosphorous, potassium, sodium, chloride, neutrophils, and hematocrit showed changes with the large environmental change. The majority of the blood biomarkers returned to baseline levels 5 wk postrelocation, with all but one aged animal showing no signs of chronic health derangements following the relocation. The abnormal blood biomarker profiles of two geriatric individuals, one male diagnosed with pericloacal and adrenal gland tumors at the beginning of the study, and one female diagnosed with chronic urinary tract infections and suspected bone marrow disease following the relocation, are presented. The findings of this study inform the health monitoring of native gliders in captivity, rehabilitation, and clinical research scenarios. These findings also provide useful baseline data to aid in the health assessment of captive-bred individuals during their reintroduction into free-living populations.

Copyright 2021 by American Association of Zoo Veterinarians
Lee McMichael, Dalene Adam, Andrew Tribe, Brian Bynon, Lana Bradshaw, Charlotte Langhorne, Julia Hoy, Peter Murray, and Steven Kopp "CLINICAL PATHOLOGY OF CAPTIVE ENDANGERED MAHOGANY GLIDERS (PETAURUS GRACILIS) IN RESPONSE TO ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE," Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 52(1), 268-275, (1 April 2021). https://doi.org/10.1638/2019-0163
Accepted: 18 September 2020; Published: 1 April 2021
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