Abstract: Preventative medicine of the digestive system in dolphins is fundamental to ensure the welfare of these animals under human care. This study aimed to establish a reference baseline data for normal cytological findings (e.g., pH, epithelial cells, leukocytes) in gastric samples of healthy bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), following, for the first time, the “Guidelines for the Determination of Reference Intervals in Veterinary Species” issued by the Quality Assurance and Laboratory Standards Committee (Friedrichs et al., 2012). Twenty-seven bottlenose dolphins kept under human care were examined and sampled. Sampling was carried out from January to December 2010. Results show that no correlation was found between pH and the epithelial cell values (rs = 0.292, p = 0.1657), between pH and the leukocyte values (rs = 0.168, p = 0.4321), and between epithelial cells and WBC (rs = 0.076, p = 0.7240). Also the t-test (assuming equal variances) did not find a significant difference for weight (p = 0.6739), pH (p = 0.7707), epithelial cells (p = 0.6385), or leukocytes (p = 0.6968) between sexes.

Key Words: bottlenose dolphin, Tursiops truncatus cytology, endoscopy, reference intervals

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1578/AM.41.3.2015.345

Page Numbers: 345-350

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