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Last updated January 1, 2014

Effects of hemolysis on plasma electrolyte and chemistry values in the common green iguana (Iguana iguana)

KG Benson DVM, J Paul-Murphy DVM, P MacWilliams DVM
Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 30(3):413-415


Hemolysis of serum and plasma samples is a common problem in veterinary diagnostic laboratories. We measured the effects of hemolysis on nine plasma analytes in 10 clinically normal common green iguanas (Iguana iguana). Blood samples with moderate and marked hemolysis were produced from each iguana by freezing, centrifuging, and decanting plasma from a portion of each blood sample, and combining the nonhemolyzed plasma with different amounts of hemolyzed plasma from the same individual. Moderate hemolysis significantly increased plasma phosphorus levels. Marked hemolysis significantly increased plasma values of potassium, phosphorus, total protein, and aspartate aminotransferase. The severity of hemolysis must be considered when interpreting values for these analytes in iguana plasma.

Keywords—Common green iguana; Iguana iguana; clinical chemistry; hemolysis; electrolytes.

The destruction of the blood cell that occurs when the blood is drawn from the animal or expressed from the syringe into the tube used to hold the blood to run tests. This may happen because of the angle of the draw, the diameter of the needle, or the rate at which the blood was transferred from syringe to tube.

According to the University of Colorado's Veterinary Emergency Medicine PEARLS:
The way to tell the difference is by serum color of centrifuged blood samples. Intravascular hemolysis will have a red color to the serum. Extravascular hemolysis will have a yellow, icteric color to the serum.

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