News : 2014 : January

New Publications on Acute Phase Proteins in Manatees and Zebra

The December issue of the Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine includes papers detailing two of our recent collaborations studying the acute phase protein (APP) expression in manatees and zebra. The highly conserved APP, serum amyloid A (SAA), was found to be a major APP of both species. With the determination of normal reference intervals and review of cases from clinically abnormal animals, the APP were found to be sensitive indicators of inflammation with prognostic value. The studies further support that APP are a valuable tool in health assessments in mammals.

The manatee study was completed with Dr. Maya Rodriguez and her staff at the Miami Seaquarium. Although serum amyloid A (SAA) had previously been reported to be elevated in clincially abnormal manatees, our study details the first application of an automated assay for this APP in this species. Reference intervals were established from clinically normal animals. More than a 30-fold mean higher level of SAA was observed in clinically abnormal manatees suffering from cold stress and trauma. The sensitivity of SAA testing was 93% and the specificity was 98%. The sensitivity was, by far, superior to traditional measures including total WBC count, neutrophil counts, hematocrit, nRBC counts, albumin, and A/G ratio. Three clinical cases are presented in the paper which demonstrate the key prognostic value found in repeated measures of SAA during the rehabilitation process.

The zebra study was completed with the collaboration of Dr. Elizabeth Hammond at Lion Country Safari and Dr. Holly Haefele at Fossil Rim Wildlife Center. Samples from Grant’s zebra were examined using assays for SAA as well as haptoglobin (HP). Reference intervals were determined from clinically normal animals for these assays as well as protein electrophoresis. Seven clinical cases from clincially abnormal zebra were profiled. These results showed a higher sensitivity of SAA and HP testing over traditional electrophoresis for the detection of ongoing inflammatory processes. As in horses, SAA could clearly be demonstrated as a major APP.

For more reading:

C. Cray, E. Hammond, and H. Haefele. Acute phase protein and protein electrophoresis values for captive Grant’s zebra (Equus burchelli). Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine, 44(4):1105-1108, 2013.

C. Cray, M. Rodriguez, M. Dickey, L. Brinson Brewer, and K.L. Arheart. Assessment of serum amyloid A levels in the rehabilitation setting in the Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris). Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine, 44(4):909-915, 2013.