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Hematology and clinical chemistry of sea otters vaptured in Prince William Sound, Alaska following the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill

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Abstract

Hematologic and serum chemical analyses were performed on sea otter blood samples collected from 31 adult males, 63 adult females, and 42 pups captured in western Prince William Sound (oiled area), and 12 adult males, 40 adult females, and 15 pups captured in eastern Prince William Sound (unoiled area) in 1989 and 1990. Hematologic differences between eastern and western adult males were minimal. Both hematocrits and hemoglobins were higher in western than eastern otters but the biological significance of this is equivocal. Western males had higher absolute eosinophil counts, suggesting possible systemic hypersensitivity reactions. Western males had higher serum protein and serum globulin levels than eastern males, suggesting greater antigenic stimulation (more inflammatory and/or infectious conditions). There were no differences in hematologic parameters between eastern and western female otters. Some chemistry changes were present, but the degree of difference was small. Total protein and serum globulin levels were slightly higher in western females, a finding also seen in adult males. Mean levels of liver enzymes for western females were somewhat higher than for the eastern otters, suggesting the possibility of subclinical liver disease. As a group, western pup hematocrits, hemoglobins, and red cell counts were significantly lower than those of eastern pups. From a biological perspective, these reductions were minimal but supported by individual animal data. The red cell data suggest a mild anemia in western pups; however, the degree of anemia was minimal, so that biological significance was equivocal. Other hematologic and clinical chemical differences between eastern and western pups were not striking and were also of equivocal biological significance.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype Other Report
Title Hematology and clinical chemistry of sea otters vaptured in Prince William Sound, Alaska following the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill
Year Published 1996
Language English
Publisher Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council
Publisher location Anchorage, AK
Contributing office(s) Alaska Science Center
Description v, 7 p.
Country United States
State Alaska
Other Geospatial Prince William Sound