Blood samples and physical data were collected weekly from a colony of gray wolves (Canis lupus) maintained under natural weather arid light conditions. Sampling over 33 continuous months indicated that hemoglobin, hematocrit, red blood cells, mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (MCHC), and thyroxine exhibited consistent circannual patterns of variation in both males and females. Hemoglobin levels peaked at 15-16 g/dl in January in females and at 16-17 g/dl in February in males, and were lowest in August at 10.5-11.5 g/dl (P < 0.00001). The cyclic patterns of hematocrit, red blood cells, and MCHC were similarly timed. Females also had a cyclic pattern of white blood cell counts and body weight; their weight peaked in early February and was lowest in August (P < 0.001). Body temperature, urea nitrogen, mean corpuscular volume (MCV), serum glucose, and cortisol did not follow a consistent seasonal pattern.
Additional publication details
Blood indicators of seasonal metabolic patterns in captive adult gray wolves