Assessing Passeriforme health in South Texas via select venous analytes

Author(s): J. Pistone, J.J. Heatley, T.A. Campbell, G. Voelker

Published: June 2017

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The handheld point of care analyzer is a quick and feasible option to obtain hematology data from individuals. The iSTAT-1® was used to evaluate select venous blood analytes obtained via jugular venipuncture from 238 passerine birds from South Texas. These data were used to assess the health of birds in the area while taking into consideration life history (migratory or sedentary), locale, seasonality, sex, and age. We attributed increased values of pO2 and hematocrit, in addition to hemoglobin and glucose concentrations of migratory birds compared to sedentary birds as the increased need of oxygen carrying capacity and energy for long duration flights. Increased glucose and lower ionized calcium concentrations were observed in migratory birds likely based on breakdown of fat deposits in the body to fuel the muscular endurance of migration. During the hotter months of the year, birds' responses to handling were exhibited by relative respiratory acidosis. When sedentary birds sampled from South Texas were compared to a previous study from Central Texas, venous blood analytes differed by locale but were within the ranges of healthy populations. These findings lead us to conclude that sedentary avian communities can be used as ecosystem bioindicators.

Suggested Citation

Pistone, J., J.J. Heatley, T.A. Campbell, G. Voelker. 2017. Assessing Passeriforme health in South Texas via select venous analytes. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part B: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 210: 64–71.