Normal organ weights, serum chemistry, hematology, and cecal and nasopharyngeal bacterial cultures in the gray short-tailed opossum (Monodelphis domestica)

Kristin D. Evans, Terry A. Hewett, Cindy J. Clayton, Leah A. Krubitzer, Stephen M Griffey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Gray short-tailed opossums (Monodelphis domestica) currently are used in genetic, developmental, oncology, and neurologic research. Little is known about their natural flora or potential for pathogenic infectious disease. The present study aims to improve existing comparative normal blood and organ weight values available to researchers and to describe flora of clinically normal M. domestica to obtain an understanding of potential pathogenic flora in clinically abnormal animals. For evaluation of serum hematology and serum chemistry, clinically normal animals were assigned to 1 of 6 groups stratified by age (younger than 1 y, 1 to 2 y, and 2 to 3 y) and sex. Hemoglobin and phosphorus levels were higher in male than female opossums, whereas monocyte and eosinophil counts were greater in females than males. Hemoglobin concentration decreased with increasing age. The youngest group had significantly higher levels of serum alkaline phosphatase and lower serum protein levels compared with older age groups. Liver and kidney weights of adult animals (1 to 3 y) were greater in female than male opossums. The predominant nasopharyngeal flora in 20 clinically normal animals from the 2- to 3-y-old group were Streptococcus viridans, Escherichia coli, and coagulase-negative Staphylococcus spp.; predominant cecal organisms were Escherichia coli and Citrobacter spp. The availability of reference hematologic values and flora for Monodelphis domestica will aid researchers in comparisons and analysis of experimental data and in diagnosis and evaluation of potential pathogens in clinically ill animals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)401-406
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science
Volume49
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology

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