Characterizing host factors affecting individual health can be important in the conservation of many chelonians, including the Blanding’s turtle (Emydoidea blandingii). However, many routine clinical pathology tests do not reliably detect differences in health status in reptiles. The erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) has been shown to characterize inflammation in many species, including tortoises, and may be useful in assessing Blanding’s turtles. The purpose of our study was to evaluate two methods of ESR measurement in free-ranging Blanding’s turtles. Sixty Blanding’s turtles captured at two sites in Illinois received a complete physical examination, and blood was collected for determination of packed cell volume, total solids, and ESR with both microhematocrit tubes and commercial kits (Winpette). Method agreement was assessed with Passing-Bablok regression. Associations between ESR and demographic, environmental, and health factors were determined by linear regression. The microhematocrit tube method proportionately overestimated ESR compared with the Winpette. With the use of both measurement methods, ESR was significantly different between study sites, higher in adult Blanding’s turtles, and higher in females that were gravid compared with those that were not. ESR was also negatively associated with packed cell volume. ESR values in Blanding’s turtles are comparable to other reptiles, and although microhematocrit tube and Winpette results are not interchangeable, their associations with biological predictors are similar, and either method has the potential to be used with separate reference intervals to assess turtles for inflammatory conditions.

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