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Veterinary Medicine International
Volume 2010, Article ID 418596, 5 pages
Research Article

Evaluation of a Portable Automated Serum Chemistry Analyzer for Field Assessment of Harlequin Ducks, Histrionicus histrionicus

1Environmental Medicine Consortium and Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, 4700 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, NC 27606, USA
2U.S. Geological Survey, Alaska Science Center, 4210 University Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508, USA
3Centre for Wildlife Ecology, Simon Fraser University, 5421 Robertson Road, RR1, Delta, BC, Canada V4K 3N2

Received 1 September 2009; Revised 19 December 2009; Accepted 21 January 2010

Academic Editor: Cinzia Benazzi

Copyright © 2010 Michael K. Stoskopf et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A portable analytical chemistry analyzer was used to make field assessments of wild harlequin ducks (Histrionicus histrionicus) in association with telemetry studies of winter survival in Prince William Sound, Alaska. We compared serum chemistry results obtained on-site with results from a traditional laboratory. Particular attention was paid to serum glucose and potassium concentrations as potential indicators of high-risk surgical candidates based on evaluation of the field data. The median differential for glucose values ( 𝑁 = 8 2 ) between methods was 0.6 mmol/L (quartiles 0.3 and 0.9 mmol/L) with the median value higher when assayed on site. Analysis of potassium on site returned a median of 2.7 mmol/L ( 𝑁 = 8 8 ; quartiles 2.4 and 3.0 mmol/L). Serum potassium values were too low for quantitation by the traditional laboratory. Changes in several serum chemistry values following a three-day storm during the study support the value of on site evaluation of serum potassium to identify presurgical patients with increased anesthetic risk.