blood chemistry; harbor seals
Little research has been established in determining blood chemistry values for harbor seals in Alaska. It has been suggested that various environmental factors can influence the blood chemistry values due to temperature, day length, precipitation, constraint and diet amongst other variables. Currently there are no guidelines for veterinarians and rehabilitators to refer to when analyzing blood chemistry values for sick animals. The hope for this research is that it will aide in establishing guidelines for specific circumstances due to environmental stressors. It is hoped that in the future, this study will be used to create values for which veterinarians can simply refer to in a manual. Four Alaskan harbor seals (female yearlings) were captured and subsequently put on either low fat or high fat diets. The animals’ consumptions were documented and proximate analysis for nutrient composition of the diet was analyzed in detail. To determine how the changes in diet affected the animals’ blood chemistry, a series of blood tests were taken to assay the blood characteristics. This study seeks to learn how the effect of confining the animal versus keeping the animal unconfined can also affect the blood characteristic values. Because a seal‘s body functions and metabolism may be affected by the changing seasons, temperature, photoperiod and molt period will be scrutinized as variables in determining the sensitivity of the blood chemistry values. Temperature and photoperiod were found using exterior sources.