The purpose of this study was to establish reference ranges (robust methods) for 51 laboratory parameters in ferrets for use in private practice. Current literature concerning reference values in ferrets is often based on small patient numbers, methods of blood sampling not suitable for practice, and outdated laboratory methods. Blood was collected from the V saphena lateralis of 111 clinically healthy ferrets (age 11 weeks to 9 years; 61 male, 50 female). Age, sex (male or female) and fasting status were taken into consideration. Parameters evaluated included haematological parameters (packed cell volume, haemoglobin, erythrocytes, erythrocyte indices, white blood cells, differential blood counts, platelets) (Cell-Dyn3500R; microscopical differential blood count), serum parameters (alanine aminotransferase, alkaline phosphatase, aspartate aminotransaminase, glutamate dehydrogenase, γ-glutamyltranspeptidase, lactate dehydrogenase, creatine kinase, α-amylase, lipase, cholinesterase, glucose, fructosamine, total protein, cholesterol, triglycerides, serum bile acids, bilirubin, urea, creatinine), serum electrolyte levels (calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, chloride, iron) (Hitachi 911), and serum hormone concentrations (thyroxine, cortisol, oestradiol, progesterone) (Elecsys 1010). Results differing from reference ranges reported in current literature were attributed in most cases to the use of other blood sampling methods and laboratory equipment.
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