Coagulation Profiles in Novel Species: A Research and Diagnostic Tool for Zoo and Aquatic Animal Medicine
Veterinarians specializing in nondomestic species are faced with unique challenges regarding research and diagnostic capabilities given the wild and sometimes dangerous nature of their patients. Standard diagnostic techniques used in small or large animal practice are not always possible due to anatomical constraints, size, tractability, or the inherent risk of anesthesia in highly valued, rare species. Diagnostic modalities that utilize simple, relatively non-invasive techniques show promise in evaluating nondomestic species and elucidating the pathophysiology behind poorly characterized disease processes in both wild and captive populations. Coagulation profiles which may include prothrombin time, partial thromboplastin time, D-dimer concentration, platelet counts, fibrinogen concentration, and thromboelastography (TEG) are frequently used in domestic species for evaluation of various disease processes including neoplasia, sepsis, trauma, inflammation, toxin exposure, and envenomation.1-3,6 Coagulation tests are also used to monitor response to drug therapy and may provide prognostic information. Few studies on coagulation profiles have been published on nondomestic species despite several reports of coagulopathies in both wild and captive species.4,5,7-16 Recent investigation utilizing tests for coagulation have discovered a correlation between hypercoagulation and manatee cold stress syndrome. Further, coagulopathies are suspected to occur in other specific disease syndromes observed in rhinoceros and several primate species based on ante- and postmortem published reports.4,10,12 Although the general process of coagulation is largely conserved between mammals, subtle differences occur which have a significant impact on test interpretation and our subsequent understanding of normal and abnormal physiology. Clinicians should consider coagulation testing as part of the diagnostic work-up in nondomestic species.
The authors would like to thank Ms. Heather Henry, Ms. Michelle Devlin, and Drs. Carsten Bandt, and Lizzy Arnett for sample collection and processing. The authors also recognize Mr. Chris Massaro, Mrs. Virginia Edmonds and their respective teams for facilitating sample collection. Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo graciously acknowledges Tampa General Hospital and the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine for sample processing. We would also like to thank Dr. Lisa Bazzle for her assistance with preparation of this presentation.
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