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Selected Haematological Parameters of Captive Ostriches (Struthio camelus) at Different Age Groups in Indian Climatic Conditions

Aravinth Arumugam Selvan Shanmugam S. Vairamuthu
Vol 8(1), 218-224
DOI- http://dx.doi.org/10.5455/ijlr.20170429082217

This study was designed to assess the effect of age on haematological parameters in ostrich (Struthio camelus). Ostriches maintained under standard managemental conditions at Post Graduate Research Institute in Animal Sciences, Kattupakkam is used for this study. Ostriches of aged 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 and 24 – 36 months of age were selected. Blood sample were collected from 42 birds of mentioned age groups. 3 ml of blood were collected from each bird during the cooler parts of the day. 1ml of blood was taken in vials containing 0.5 mg of EDTA (Ethylene Diamine Tetra Acetic Acid) and was later used to estimate Haemoglobin concentration (Hb), Packed Cell Volume (PCV), Total Erythrocytes Count (TEC) and Total Leucocytes Count (TLC) and Differential Count (DC). The study revealed no significant differences among various blood parameters. The findings are comparable with works done by other scientists from other parts of the world.


Keywords : Age Captivity Haematological Parameters Ostrich

Introduction

Ostrich is the largest, flightless and heaviest living bird in the world, belonging to the ratite family. The ostrich has one of the most advanced immune systems known to mankind. It has remarkable tolerance to heat (Levi et al., 1989) withstanding temperature of 560C without undue stress. Ostriches are reared mostly for their large variety of products such as meat, oil, feather, hide, egg and egg shell (Horbanczuk et al., 2007; Kawka et al., 2007; 2010; 2012). Ostrich farming has been witnessing major changes for the past two decades. It has been undergoing ups and downs worldwide. Management of these birds in general, particularly the young chicks, is still relatively difficult. The management systems are yet to be standardized in many parts of the world. The haematological values are known to be influenced by various factors such as age, sex, diet, body condition, diseases, management systems and nutritional status. The values are useful for diagnosis of disease and illness in birds (Perelman et al., 1999). The parameters also provide highly valuable information on physiological status and allow the detection of possible diseases. Ostriches in general are difficult to handle especially the juvenile birds. The birds to have normal productivity and reproduction, it is important that their health is maintained at optimum level. General health can be monitored by assessing some of their vital biochemical parameters. It is more compelling in Ostriches as they are difficult to handle and require more attention in their health status. There is very little understanding on the blood serum profile of ostriches. It is necessary to have standard values and knowledge of their variation in relation to age, sex, season, physiological status, blood collection methods and other factors for proper evaluation of metabolic profiles. However, very little research work had been done on haematology of ostriches. Hence to arrive at the base line values, present work has been designed.

Materials and Methods

Animals

Ostriches reared under standard managemental conditions at Post Graduate Research Institute in Animal Sciences, Kancheepuram district, Tamilnadu about 20 kilometres from Chennai. It is located between 13.039° N latitude and 80.126° E longitude with an altitude 22 m from mean sea level. Blood samples were collected from ostriches of age one to twelve months with two month’s interval (2, 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12 months) and thereafter in adult birds in the age group of (24-36 months). 6 birds in every age group with total of 42 samples were collected of which in every age group 3 males and 3 females had been sampled.  All the birds were maintained in standard management condition and raised in fenced paddocks.

Blood Analysis

Morning time (7.30- 9.00 AM) was utilized for blood collection. Birds were restrained by 4-5 members with their wings and face was covered with a black colored hood which covers almost 1/3rd (10-15cm) of the neck. They were cornered on one side of the paddock and Blood was collected by venipuncture (less than a minute) from the brachial vein (wing) because of its larger size. Pressure was applied to raise the vein. Three milliliters of blood was collected from all 42 birds using a 5ml syringe. A drop of blood placed on a clean grease free glass slide was gently slid over using another glass slide to prepare the smears and were allowed to air shade dry and fixed in methanol for two minutes to be used late for staining.

As per the Standard staining procedure (Bancroft and Marilyn, 2008) the time mentioned was only 30 minutes, but it was observed that the ostrich blood smear showed good staining result when it was stained and distilled water was allowed to stand for 60 minutes.  The smear on the glass slide was washed, air dried and examined under oil immersion lens of the microscope. Moving the slide vertically and horizontally, a total of 100 leucocytes were counted using blood cell counter. Blood analysis was carried out within four hours of collection. Haemoglobin (Hb) concentration was estimated as per the Sahli’s Acid hematin method (Sahli, 1909), Packed cell volume (PCV) by microhaematocrit method (Mcinroy, 1953), Total Erythrocyte Count (TEC) and Total Leucocyte Count (TLC) by using Nambiar’s diluting fluid (Bancroft and Marilyn, 2008) and Differential count (DC) by using modified Leishman-Giemsa stain as per the method described by Bancroft and Marilyn (2008). The results obtained were presented as means ±SD. Student’s t-test was used to compare the mean data among age groups. Statements of statistical significance are based on P < 0.05 (SPSS, 1998).

Result and Discussion

The data recorded during the conduct of the experiment were grouped, analyzed systematically and presented in their respective tables.

Haematological Parameters

The results of the haematological parameters were represented in Table 1.

Table 1: Haematological parameters at different age groups

Parameters Mean for Age (month)
2 (n=12) 4(n=12) 6(n=12) 8(n=12) 10(n=12) 12(n=12) 24-36(n=12)
Hb*(g/dl) 10.16a±0.06 10.63ab±0.30 10.80abc±0.14 11.16bc±0.06 11.03bc±0.09 10.96bc±0.22 11.53c±0.51
PCV**(per cent) 33.00a±1.52 40.00b±1.71 44.33c±1.89 36.00ab±1.78 38.33b±0.95 37.33b±0.84 37.66b±1.40
TEC**(×106/mm3) 1.75bc±0.01 1.70abc±0.01 1.69ab±0.02 1.77bc±0.01 1.73abc±0.01 1.79c±0.01 1.65a±0.069
TLCNS(×103/mm3) 6.45±0.13 6.83±0.10 6.69±0.06 6.77±0.12 6.73±0.08 6.69±0.13 6.96±0.37
MCV**(fl) 188.43a±0.13 238.80cd±12.78 262.04d±11.88 203.02ab±3.98 221.45bc±5.80 208.66ab±5.36 221.54bc±4.64
MCH**(pg) 57.96a±0.78 61.73ab±1.73 63.86b±1.48 62.98ab±0.46 63.74b±0.77 61.33ab±1.41 70.15c±3.37
MCHC**( g/dl) 31.13c±1.40 26.89ab±1.13 24.65 a±1.42 31.07c±0.55 28.87bc±0.75 29.40bc±0.57 30.74c±1.34

** Highly significant (P<0.01), *Significant (P<0.05) and NS- Not significant; Mean values sharing any one common superscript in a row for age do not differ

Effect of Age on Haemoglobin

Significant (P≤0.05) differences were observed in the haemoglobin of different age groups. The haemoglobin level was lowest in the age group of 2 months (10.16 ± 0.06 g/dl) and highest value was observed in 24 – 36 months of age (11.53 ± 0.51 g/dl). The haemoglobin level in 4 to 12 months of aged birds had similar range of values. The overall average value of haemoglobin in juvenile ostriches (2 – 12 months) observed in our study was 10.79 g /dl, which is close to the value observed by Mushi et al., 1999 (10.9 g/dl). The average value of haemoglobin obtained in adult ostriches in our study was 11.53 g/dl, which is close to the value obtained by Bonadiman et al., 2009 (11.03 g/dl). Palomeque et al.1991 recorded a value of 13.3 g/dl in juveniles (5 months) and in adults (1 year) a value of 15.6 g/dl which is higher than the values obtained in this study. Tesserolli et al., 2009 who had worked with 9 and 13 months old ostriches had recorded higher values of 21.13g/dl.  Levi et al., 1989 recorded a value of 8.9 g/dl, 11.7g/dl, 14.4g/dl, 12.7 g/dl and 13.8 g/dl in the age group of 1 – 3 months, 4-5 months, 6 months, 9 months and 12 – 72 months respectively. The value obtained during the 1 – 3 months is lower than our value and all other age group had higher values. Ognean et al., 2009 recorded higher value of 12.6 g/dl in adult ostriches than our value. The value obtained by Selvan et al., 2012 in 3 – 4 months old birds was 11.2 g/dl which is higher than the value obtained in our study. Raukar et al., 2005 and 2007 reported a value in day old ostriches as 8.2 g/dl and 7.9 g/dl respectively which cannot be compared with our study due to wide age difference. This age-related increase might be due to the greater oxygen demand for activity in older birds. The relatively high plasma volume in younger relates to a lower Haemoglobin level.

Effect of Age on Packed Cell Volume (PCV)

A highly significant difference (P<0.01) was observed between ages in the packed cell volume where 2 months old birds had significantly lower value (33.00 ± 1.52 per cent) compared to the 6 months old birds (37.66 ± 1.40 per cent). Thereafter the value remained more or less unchanged. The overall average value of PCV in juvenile ostriches (2 – 12 months) observed in our study was 38.16 and 37.66 in adult ostriches. The value obtained is in agreement to the value of 40 % obtained by Levi et al., 1989. The values obtained in juvenile ostriches by Levi et al., are lower than the values obtained in our study (33.50 vs 38.16). Palomeque et al., 1991 recorded a value of 37% which is in agreement with our value of 38.16%. Raukar et al., 2005 & 2007 reported a value of 19.9% and 21.70% respectively in day old ostrich chicks. Mushi et al., 1999 recorded a value of 43.25 % in the juveniles which is higher than the values obtained in our study but recorded a similar value of 36% in adult ostriches. Bonadiman et al., 2009 got higher value of 43.14 than the value recorded in our study. Selvan et al., 2012 recorded a value of 34.16 % which is lower than the values obtained in our study. There was a decline in the PCV value compared to the increase in age, which is contrary to the findings of Levi et al., 1989, Mushi et al., 1999 and Bonadiman et al., 2009.

Effect of Age on Total Erythrocyte Count

A highly significant difference (P<0.01) was observed in Total Erythrocyte Count (TEC) between different age groups. The value was lowest (1.65 ± 0.07×106/mm3) in 24-36 months and highest level (1.79 ± 0.01×106/mm3) was noticed in 12 months of age. Similar ranges of value were observed in other group of birds. The overall average value of Total Erythrocyte Count in juveniles observed in our study was 1.74 x106/mm3, which is almost similar to the values obtained by Levi et al., 1989 (1.90 x106/mm3), Selvan et al., 2012 (1.68 x106/mm3), Tesserolli et al., 2009 (1.9×106/mm3), Aikins-wilson et al., 2012 (1.92×106/mm3) and Durgun et al., 2005 (1.83 x106/mm3). Raukar et al., 2005 & 2007 recorded a value of 1.62 x106/mm3 and 1.48 x 106/mm3 respectively in day old chicks. Mushi et al., 1999 (2.1×106/mm3) and Ognean et al., 2009 (3.32×106/mm3) reported higher values, while Ahmed et al. 2012 recorded the highest value of 18.21×106/mm3. In our study, highest value was observed in 12 months and lowest in adult birds. There was a decrease in the TEC value as age increases, which is similar to the findings of Levi et al., 1989 and contrary to findings of Mushi et al., 1999.

Effect of Age on Total Leucocyte Count

Age had no significant effect on Total Leucocyte Count (TLC). The value of TLC ranged from 6.45 ± 0.13 × 103/mm3 to 6.96 ± 0.37×103/mm3 in the age group of 2 months to 24 – 36 months respectively. The overall average value of TLC observed in our study was 6.69 x103/mm3, which is lower than the values obtained by Levi et al., 1989 (7.50 x103/mm3), Aikins-wilson et al., 2012 (9.0×103/mm3), Ognean et al., 2009 (10.67×103/mm3), Hassim et al., 2006 (14.71×103/mm3), Tesserolli et al., 2009 (21.13×103/mm3) Durgun et al., 2005 (21.7×103/mm3) and Spinu et al., 2010 (25.9×103/mm3) and Selvan et al., 2012 (7.95 x 103/mm3). Mushi et al., 1999 (4.6 x103/mm3) and Ahmed et al., 2012 (3.1×103mm3) recorded much lower values than the value recorded in our study. Raukar et al., 2005 and 2007 recorded a value of 7.6 x109/L and 9.1 x109/L respectively in day old chicks. No significant differences were observed between ages which are similar to the findings of Durgun et al., 2005, Mushi et al., 1999 and contrary to the findings of Aikins-wilson et al., 2012.

Effect of Age on Mean Corpuscular Volume (MCV)

Mean corpuscular volume (MCV) showed highly significant variation (P<0.01) was observed between different age groups. The value was lowest (188.43 ±10.13fl) in 2 months of age and highest (262.04 ±11.88fl) in 6 months of age. Other age groups had comparable values. The overall average value of Mean Corpuscular volume observed in our study was 221.56fl, which is almost similar to the values of Durgun et al., 2005 (229.05fl), Mushi et al., 1999 (202.99fl). Lower values were observed by Levi et al., 1989 (170.25fl) and Aikins-wilson et al., 2012(105.2fl), whereas higher value was recorded by Bonadiman et al., 2009 (252.6fl). Raukar et al., 2005 & 2007 recorded a value of 122.92fl and 126.6fl respectively in the day-old chicks. The effect of age on Mean Corpuscular Volume in our study is highly significant which is similar to that of the findings of Aikins-wilson et al., 2012 and contrary to the findings of Durgun et al., 2005 and Mushi et al., 1999.

Effect of Age on Mean Corpuscular Haemoglobin (MCH)

Highly significant variation (P<0.01) was observed in Mean Corpuscular Haemoglobin (MCH) between different age groups. Younger birds (2 months) had significantly lower value 57.96 ± 0.78 pg than the birds of 24-36 months of age (70.15±3.37pg). Similar comparable ranges of value were observed in other age groups. The overall average value of Mean Corpuscular Haemoglobin observed in our study was 63.10 pg, which is close to the value observed by Levi et al., 1989 (59.25 pg). Higher values were recorded by Mushi et al., 1999 (69.9 pg), Durgun et al., 2005 (70.19 pg) and Aikins-wilson et al., 2012 (96.69 pg). In day old chicks the value observed by Raukar et al., 2005 & 2007 was 50.68 pg and 52.9 pg respectively. The effect of age on Mean Corpuscular Haemoglobin in our study is highly significant which is similar to that of the findings of Mushi et al., 1999 and contrary to the findings of Levi et al. 1989, Aikins-Wilson et al., 2012 and Durgun et al., 2005. No significant differences were observed between sexes which are similar to finding of Levi et al., 1989.

Effect of Age on Mean Corpuscular Haemoglobin Concentration (MCHC)

Mean Corpuscular Haemoglobin Concentration (MCHC) shows highly significant variation (P<0.01) among different age groups. The value was highest (31.13 per cent) in 2 months of age and lowest (24.65 ±1.42 per cent) in 6 months of age. Similar ranges of value were observed in other age groups. The overall average value observed in our study on Mean Corpuscular Haemoglobin Concentration was 28.96 g/dl which is almost similar to the values of Durgun et al., 2005 (29.95 g/dl) and Ahmed et al. 2012 (31.8 g/dl). Higher value of 32.5g/dl was recorded by Levi et al., 1989, Mushi et al., 1999 (34.2g/dl) and Aikins-Wilson et al., 2012 (89.18g/dl). In day old chicks, Raukar et al., 2005 & 2007 recorded a value of 41.2g/dl and 41.8g/dl respectively. The effect of age on Mean Corpuscular Haemoglobin concentration in our study is highly significant which is similar to that of the findings of Mushi et al., 1999 and contrary to the findings of Levi et al., 1989, Aikins-Wilson et al., 2012 and Durgun et al., 2005.

Effect of Age on Differential Count

Age of the birds had no significant effect on the differential count, but different range of values was observed between different cells. Heterophil, lymphocytes, eosinophil and monocyte showed a range of (61.50 ± 0.76 to 64.83 ± 0.60 per cent), (32.33 ± 0.42 to 34.33 ± 0.88 per cent), (0.66 ± 0.21 to 1.16 ± 0.40 per cent) and (2.50 ± 0.22 to 3.16± 0.30 per cent) respectively between different age groups.

 

Conclusion

It’s been noted there from the past that not much research had been done of blood picture of ostrich at differ age groups, which would be of greater value for the researchers in this field. This study is done to provide a standard value for the blood parameters of ostrich at different age and its variations. But further more research has to carry out to provide the exact amount of changes caused in the body.

Acknowledgements

We are grateful to post graduate research institute in animal sciences, kattupakkam for providing all facilities to carry out my research. We also thank Centralised Clinical Laboratory, Madras Veterinary College for carrying out the experiments and sample analysis.

References

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