Original Research

Reference intervals for selected serum biochemistry analytes in cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus)

Gavin C. Hudson-Lamb, Johan P. Schoeman, Emma H. Hooijberg, Sonja K. Heinrich, Adrian S.W. Tordiffe
Journal of the South African Veterinary Association | Vol 87, No 1 | a1316 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jsava.v87i1.1316 | © 2016 Gavin C. Hudson-Lamb, Johan P. Schoeman, Emma H. Hooijberg, Sonja K. Heinrich, Adrian S.W. Tordiffe | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 22 June 2015 | Published: 26 February 2016

About the author(s)

Gavin C. Hudson-Lamb, Department of Companion Animal Clinical Studies, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Johan P. Schoeman, Department of Companion Animal Clinical Studies, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Emma H. Hooijberg, Department of Companion Animal Clinical Studies, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Sonja K. Heinrich, Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, Berlin, Germany
Adrian S.W. Tordiffe, Department of Companion Animal Clinical Studies, University of Pretoria, South Africa; Department of Research and Scientific Services, National Zoological Gardens of South Africa


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Abstract

Published haematologic and serum biochemistry reference intervals are very scarce for captive cheetahs and even more for free-ranging cheetahs. The current study was performed to establish reference intervals for selected serum biochemistry analytes in cheetahs. Baseline serum biochemistry analytes were analysed from 66 healthy Namibian cheetahs. Samples were collected from 30 captive cheetahs at the AfriCat Foundation and 36 free-ranging cheetahs from central Namibia. The effects of captivity-status, age, sex and haemolysis score on the tested serum analytes were investigated. The biochemistry analytes that were measured were sodium, potassium, magnesium, chloride, urea and creatinine. The 90% confidence interval of the reference limits was obtained using the non-parametric bootstrap method. Reference intervals were preferentially determined by the non-parametric method and were as follows: sodium (128 mmol/L – 166 mmol/L), potassium (3.9 mmol/L – 5.2 mmol/L), magnesium (0.8 mmol/L – 1.2 mmol/L), chloride (97 mmol/L – 130 mmol/L), urea (8.2 mmol/L – 25.1 mmol/L) and creatinine (88 µmol/L – 288 µmol/L). Reference intervals from the current study were compared with International Species Information System values for cheetahs and found to be narrower. Moreover, age, sex and haemolysis score had no significant effect on the serum analytes in this study. Separate reference intervals for captive and free-ranging cheetahs were also determined. Captive cheetahs had higher urea values, most likely due to dietary factors. This study is the first to establish reference intervals for serum biochemistry analytes in cheetahs according to international guidelines. These results can be used for future health and disease assessments in both captive and free-ranging cheetahs.

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