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The impact of fibropapillomatosis on clinical characteristics, blood gas, plasma biochemistry, and hematological profiles in juvenile green turtles (Chelonia mydas)

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Fibropapillomatosis (FP) is a tumor-forming disease that afflicts all marine turtles and is the most common in green turtles (Chelonia mydas). In this study, the morphometric characteristics, blood gas, biochemistry, and hematological profiles of 28 (6 FP-positive and 22 FP-negative) green turtles from the coast of Taiwan were investigated. The results indicated that body weight (P < 0.001) and curved carapace length (CCL; P < 0.001) in green turtles with FP were significantly higher than in turtles without FP. Furthermore, green turtles with FP had a significantly lower value of hemoglobin (HB; P = 0.010) and packed cell volume (PCV; P = 0.005) than turtles without FP. Blood cell counts of white blood cells (WBC; P = 0.008) and lymphocytes (P = 0.022) were observed with significant difference; green turtles with FP had lower counts than turtles without FP. In addition, turtles with FP had significantly higher pH (P = 0.036), base excess in extracellular fluid (BEecf; P = 0.012), bicarbonate (HCO3; P = 0.008), and total carbon dioxide (TCO2; P = 0.025) values than turtles without FP. The findings of this study provide valuable clinical parameters for the medical care of the species in sea turtle rehabilitation centers and help us to understand the physiological response of green turtles to different tumor-forming conditions.
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Affiliations: 1: National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium, Pingtung 94450, Taiwan 2: Graduate Institute of Microbiology and Public Health, College of Veterinary Medicine, National Chung Hsing University, Taichung, 40227, Taiwan

Appeared or available online: April 14, 2020

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