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Haematological characteristics of the south-west carpet python (Morelia spilota imbricata): factors that affect blood values

Bryant, G., Fleming, T.ORCID: 0000-0002-0626-3851, Warren, K.ORCID: 0000-0002-9328-2013 and de Tores, P. (2007) Haematological characteristics of the south-west carpet python (Morelia spilota imbricata): factors that affect blood values. In: Wildlife Disease Association Australasian Section, 22 - 28 September, Dryandra, Western Australia.


Haematological investigation is an important part of disease diagnosis and evaluation in reptiles and consideration must be given to the morphological characteristics of reptilian blood cells as they are markedly heterogeneous even within a single order. Variations to the normal haematological values of reptiles may be strongly influenced by differences in environment, habitat conditions, age, sex, physiological status, nutrition and administration of anaesthetic agents. However, for most species, the influence of these factors on haematological values is not fully understood. The purpose of this study was to investigate haematology characteristics in the south-west carpet python (Morelia spilota imbricata) in relation to time spent in captivity, season, sex, method of blood collection and whether the blood sample was collected during captivity or after release. Blood samples from 24 wildcaught pythons were drawn from the ventral coccygeal vein and collected into lithium heparin tubes. A complete blood count and biochemistry analysis was conducted using standard methods. Multiple regression analyses were performed for season, sex, habitat condition (captive or wild), and length of time in captivity. Haemoglobin, packed cell volume (PCV), white blood cell count (lymphocytes and heterophils), globulin and the albumin/globulin ratio were all affected by season and white blood cell count (monocyte and lymphocyte counts) was influenced by habitat condition (captive or wild). We conclude that haematological parameters for M s. imbricata do vary, and an understanding of habitat conditions and time of year should therefore be taken into account when investigating and evaluating disease in this species.

Item Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
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