Evaluation of blood tests to assess the health status of harbor seals (Phoca vitulina vitulina) of the German North Sea

Four different blood tests were applied on harbor seals (Phoca vitulina vitulina): differential hemogram, phagocytosis, respiratory burst and serum protein electrophoresis. Results of this thesis provide reference values not previously described for the applied assays for three different harbor seal groups (free-ranging, rehabilitated, and captive). High sample sizes allowed further sub-divisions of the seal groups for most values and additional differences between these sub-groups could be analyzed. The different assays applied in this thesis proved to complement one another. They demonstrated that the differential hemogram is an important tool to gain a broad overview of the health status of the animals. Results of the phagocytosis and respiratory burst test are more sensitive and show deviant behavior of the immune system earlier than the differential hemogram might do. The serum protein electrophoresis looks from the humoral side onto the immune defense.





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