Abstract: Twenty-two young harbour seals (Phoca vitulina) were fed herring from either the relatively unpolluted Atlantic Ocean or the heavily polluted Baltic Sea as part of a 2½-year immunotoxicological study. Blood samples taken at regular intervals were analyzed for routine haematology and clinical chemistry. Minimal differences between the two groups were observed in these parameters over the course of the experiment. Of the 20 clinical chemistry parameters analyzed, slight differences were found in serum levels of urea, creatinine, magnesium, and cholesterol. In haematology profiles, red blood cell counts and haematocrit values were higher in seals fed Baltic herring, but these differences diminished over time. Neutrophil counts were also higher in this group of seals, especially during the second half of the feeding study. Factors affecting haematological and clinical chemistry parameters within feeding groups included gender, age, and season. The data collected demonstrate a relative insensitivity of clinical chemistry parameters to the effects of chronic exposure to environmental contaminants accumulated through the food chain, but suggest the induction of clear alterations in differential white blood cell counts. In addition, a comprehensive set of normal ranges for healthy harbour seals is presented.

doi.org/10.1139/z95-239, hdl.handle.net/1765/39865
Canadian Journal of Zoology
Department of Virology

de Swart, R., Ross, P., Vedder, L., Boink, F. B. T. J., Reijnders, P. J. H., Mulder, P., & Osterhaus, A. (1995). Haematology and clinical chemistry values for harbour seals (Phoca vitulina) fed environmentally contaminated herring remain within normal ranges. Canadian Journal of Zoology, 73(11), 2035–2043. doi:10.1139/z95-239