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Haematological and biochemical values for grey seal pups (Halichoerus grypus) during early rehabilitation
  1. J. E. F. Barnett, BSc, BVSc1,
  2. L. Turner, BSc1,
  3. P. A. Booth, HNC2 and
  4. A. E. Hunt, MIBiol, MPhil3
  1. 1 National Seal Sanctuary, Gweek, Helston, Cornwall TR12 6UG
  2. 2 Veterinary Laboratories Agency — Truro, Polwhele, Truro, Cornwall TR4 9AD
  3. 3 Veterinary Laboratories Agency — Sutton Bonington, The Elms, College Road, Sutton Bonington, Loughborough, Leicestershire LE12 5RB
  1. Mr Barnett's present address is Veterinary Laboratories Agency — Starcross, Staplake Mount, Starcross, Exeter, Devon ex6 8pe
  2. Ms Turner's present address is 64 Opoturu Road, Raglan, New Zealand


Haematological and biochemical data were collected over a period of six years from grey seal (Halichoerus grypus) pups undergoing rehabilitation. Pups bled during the first three days were allocated retrospectively to one of seven clinical groups and statistical analyses were carried out on six of these groups (130 pups). Compared with reference ranges, all the groups had lower mean packed-cell volumes (pcv), red blood cell (rbc) counts haemoglobin and albumin levels, pups with severe trauma had higher total white blood cell (wbc) and neutrophil counts, pups with severe trauma and malnourished pups had higher total bilirubin levels, and pups in all the clinical groups except those with severe trauma had lower sodium levels. There were significant differences (P≤0·05) between some clinical groups for mean pcv, rbc counts, all wbc counts except monocytes, haemoglobin, total bilirubin, creatine kinase, amylase and potassium levels. Forty-nine pups were bled more than once during the first 10 days of rehabilitation for haematology, and 11 were bled more than once for biochemistry. There were significant decreases (P≤0·05) during this period in pcv, and in the activities of alkaline phosphatase, alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, creatine kinase and lactate dehydrogenase, and significant increases in all wbc counts, total protein, globulin, amylase and calcium levels.

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