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Theriogenology. 2014 Jul 15;82(2):294-303. doi: 10.1016/j.theriogenology.2014.04.004. Epub 2014 Apr 15.

Blood analysis in newborn donkeys: hematology, biochemistry, and blood gases analysis.

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Department of Health, Animal Science and Food Safety, Università degli Studi di Milano, Milan, Italy.
Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, University of Teramo, Teramo, Italy.
Department of Health, Animal Science and Food Safety, Università degli Studi di Milano, Milan, Italy. Electronic address:


The knowledge of reference ranges for hematologic, biochemical, and blood gas parameters in the different species and the influence of breed and age on them is a fundamental tool for the clinician. For this reason, the aim of this study was to evaluate the age-related changes of hematologic and biochemical parameters in Martina Franca donkey foals during the first 3 weeks of life and of blood gases during the first 24 hours of age. Fifteen healthy donkey foals were enrolled; blood samples were collected from each foal at 10 minutes after birth, 1 hour after the first and second suckles, 12 and 24 hours after birth, daily from Day 2 to 7, and at Days 10, 14, and 21 of life. Erythrocytes, leukocytes, and platelets counts were assessed; also metabolic (alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, gamma glutamyl transferase, creatinphospokinase, lactate dehydrogenase, alkaline phosphatase, glucose, blood urea nitrogen, creatinine, total proteins, albumins, cholesterol, and total bilirubin) and electrolytic parameters (Ca, P, Mg, Na, K, and Cl) were evaluated. Finally, blood gases and metabolic parameters (pH, pCO2, pO2, sO2, TCO2, HCO3, lactate, and base excess) on venous blood were assessed with a portable analyzer. A statistical analysis to evaluate the influence of age and sex was performed. Several differences were found between sampling times, demonstrating that age influences these parameters. Moreover differences were found compared with data reported in literature for donkey foals of another species, horse foals, and adult donkeys. Although a great interindividual variation for some parameters exists, this study demonstrated that interval references should be addressed not only to different species, but also to specific breeds and to the neonatal period.


Biochemistry; Blood gas analysis; Donkey; Hematology; Newborn

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