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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 23:1-6 (1995)  -  doi:10.3354/dao023001

Results on blood cell morphology and differential blood cell counts from seventeen Steller sea lion Eumetopias jubatus pups

Bishop DH, Morado JF

During summer 1991, blood was collected and blood smears were prepared from 17 Steller sea lion Eumetopias jubatus pups. Of the sampled pups 8 were from 3 Southeast Alaska rookeries (Forrester Island, N = 3; White Sisters, N = 4; Hazy Island, N = 1) and 9 were from 2 Gulf of Alaska rookeries (Seal Rocks, N = 5; Outer Island, N = 4). The total number of white blood cells (WBC) per ul was estimated, and differential counts were performed on each smear. Red blood cell (RBC) anomalies were identified and quantified. Only the values from the Hazy Island pup sample appeared remarkable as the levels of banded neutrophils, monocytes, and total WBC counts were greater than 1 standard deviation from the total average values. Poikilocytes and target cells were the most frequently encountered RBC anomalies occurring in all (100%) and 15 of 17 (88%) sampled pups, respectively. No clear differences were observed between pups from the 2 regions, but total WBC counts from Southeast Alaska pups appeared depressed when compared with Gulf of Alaska values. RBC data indicated that target cells were markedly elevated in Gulf of Alaska pups over Southeast Alaska pups and that poikilocyte levels were higher in Southeast Alaska pups than Gulf of Alaska pups. The results suggest anemia, but given the wide range of reported values from captive, stranded, and wild sea lions, the exact condition of the sampled Steller sea lion pups could not be determined.

Eumetopias jubatus . Steller sea lion . Differential counts . Poikilocytes . Target cells . Red blood cells . White blood cells

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