General Markers of Health in Eiders Recovering From Traumatic Injuries and Capture Myopathy
IAAAM 2005
Jenny L. DeGroot1; Tuula Hollmén2; Peter Nilsson1
1Alaska SeaLife Center, Seward, AK, USA; 2Alaska SeaLife Center and University of Alaska Fairbanks, Seward, AK, USA


We describe case histories and rehabilitation of two Steller's eiders (Polysticta stelleri) and two spectacled eiders (Somateria fischeri) during 2003-2004 at the Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC). One female Steller's eider showed signs of capture myopathy after transport to ASLC, including symptoms of incoordination, muscle stiffness, weakness and paralysis. A male Steller's eider and two male spectacled eiders were brought in with various wing injuries, including a lacerated patagium tendon, soft tissue injury around the elbow joint, and a compound fracture of humerus requiring amputation. Blood samples and weights were taken from the four eiders upon initial examination, during treatment and after recovery. Blood samples were analyzed for various markers of liver function, skeletal muscle condition, inflammation, and stress to monitor health status and recovery from injuries. We measured packed cell volume, total protein, serum corticosterone concentrations, and the following serum enzyme activities using a VetTest 8008 analyzer (IDEXX Laboratories, Inc.): alkaline phosphatase (ALKP, EC, gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT, EC, aspartate aminotransferase (AST, EC, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH, EC, and creatine kinase (CK, EC Electrophoretic separation techniques were used to further characterize serum isoenzyme and protein fractions (Beckman Paragon Electrophoresis system, Beckman Instruments, Inc.). Enzyme and corticosterone results were compared to reference ranges established for captive flocks of healthy Steller's and spectacled eiders at the ASLC1.


The authors would like to thank the Alaska SeaLife Center Eider Research, Avian Husbandry, and Veterinary Services departments for their help with this project.


1.  DeGroot J, Hollmén T. 2004. Serum Enzyme Activities of Captive Steller's Eiders (Polysticta stelleri) and Spectacled Eiders (Somateria fischeri). Proceedings of the Joint Conference of Wildlife Disease Association, American Association of Zoo Veterinarians and American Association of Wildlife Veterinarians, San Diego, CA.

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Jenny L. DeGroot

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