The aim of the study was to obtain basic data on individual biological variation, the required number of specimens to define the homeostatic setpoint (the aspired value of a variable adjusted to the individuals homeostasis) and critical differences of selected chemistry parameters in budgerigars (Melopsittacus undulatus). Blood from 99 healthy budgerigars was sampled 12 times at four-week intervals. Aspartate aminotransferase (ast), calcium, creatine kinase (ck), glutamate dehydrogenase (gldh), glucose, lactate dehydrogenase (ldh), total protein and uric acid were investigated. The indices of individuality obtained in the present study were relatively low (total protein 0·93, ast 1·02, gldh 1·04, ck 1·12, ldh 1·24, uric acid 1·26, glucose 1·39, calcium 1·61) and suggest that population-based reference limits might be useful. Comparison of data showed that the application of intraindividual reference values identified much greater variation in the reference values than using conventional population-based reference limits. Otherwise, the moderate to low degrees of individuality may allow the use of reference values of one individual as a standard for another individual of the same species. The critical differences that define the change needed between two serial results to indicate a biological change was highest in gldh with 120 per cent or 1·7 U/l. In calcium, a change of 30·5 per cent or 0·5 mmol/l would be significant. In the other parameters critical differences varied between 38 per cent in glucose, up to 93 per cent in uric acid.
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