Haematological and biochemical investigations of diseased koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus)
P.J. Canfield1, M.E. O'Neill2, and E.F. Smith2
1Department of Veterinary Pathology
2School of Crop Sciences, University of Sydney, New South Wales 2006
Haematological and biochemical investigations were performed on 14 koalas with uncomplicated cystitis, 8 with complicated cystitis, 8 with conjunctivitis, 8 with lymphosarcoma, and 14 with miscellaneous diseases. Changes were limited and inconsistent in individual koalas with uncomplicated cystitis and conjunctivitis. In contrast, individual koalas with complicated cystitis were more likely to have anaemia, leukocytosis due to neutrophilia, hypoproteinaemiadue to hypoalbuminaemia, and azotaemia due to elevated urea concentration. Although these changes were non-specific they did allow assessment of prognosis for survival and response to treatment. Koalas with lymphosarcoma were invariably anaemic, leukaemic, azotaemic and hypoalbuminaemic. Elevated enzymes (aspartate transaminase [AST]. lactate dehydrogenase [LD] and gamma glutamyl transferase [GGTJ) were more common in koalas with lymphosarcoma. Koalas affected by miscellaneous conditions showed variable changes but once again anaemia, leukocytosis, azotaemia, elevated AST and LD, and hypoalbuminaemia were not uncommon. On the basis of these findings a minimal profile is suggested for the investigation of sick koalas and would include haematocrit, total and differential leukocyte counts, urea, total protein and albumin concentrations and AST, GGT and LD activities.