Hematological profiles of giant anteaters from different biomes
Evelyn de Oliveira
Danieli Brolo Martins
Received: 6 April 2017 /Accepted: 20 June 2017 /Published online: 30 June 2017
Springer-Verlag London Ltd. 2017
Abstract The giant anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla), a
species currently classified as vulnerable, is native to Central
and South America. However, few studies have focused on
the hematology of this animal, making its clinical evaluation
difficult. With regard to reference values for laboratory param-
eters, existing data are scanty and show differences among
most of the variables, even in animals from the same country.
Such differences may be attributed to various intrinsic and
extrinsic factors. This study therefore sought to determine
whether there are similarities in the hematological profiles of
giant anteaters from different Brazilian biomes living in cap-
tivity in various zoos, based on a statistical comparison of data
collected in three studies conducted in Brazil. It was found
that, even within the same country, most of the hematological
variables of anteaters from different biomes differ from one
another. This finding underscores the need to establish region-
al hematological parameters of reference, since these discrep-
ancies may be generated by multiple factors.
The giant anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla), which is na-
tive to Central and South America, is currently classified as a
vulnerable species, according to the International Union for
Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Studies of the physiological
and hematological parameters of this animal in its native re-
gions are scanty (Rojano Bolaño et al. 2014), making it diffi-
cult to interpret laboratory exams (Sanches et al. 2013).
Knowledge of reference values is extremely helpful for
veterinarians in their daily tasks, as well as for wildlife con-
servation and reintroduction programs (Sanches et al. 2013;
Rojano Bolaño et al. 2014). However, extrinsic and intrinsic
factors may influence such parameters (Birgel Junior et al.
2001) within a single population (Di Nucci et al. 2014).
Zoos, which in the past served mostly to exhibit captive
animals, are now institutions established primarily to save
endangered species. Although animals in zoos do not live in
their natural habitat, concern focuses on enriching the envi-
ronment by seeking to achieve similarity between their in situ
and ex situ ecosystems. In addition to conservation, zoos en-
able the development of numerous studies, providing relevant
information on the nutritional, anatomical, and physiological
aspects of the species kept in them (Fioravanti 2011).
In view of the above, the purpose of this survey was to
ascertain similarities and differences between the hematolog-
ical profiles of giant anteaters originating from different
Brazilian biomes and kept at different zoos in the country.
Material and methods
For this survey, several hematological studies of this species
living in captivity in Brazilian zoos were chosen. Some of the
existing studies were not included in this survey because they
lacked complete hematological information (Machado et al.
2006) or because they involved a very small number of ani-
mals (Miranda et al. 2014). This limited the number of studies
included in our survey to just three that could be compared,
* Evelyn de Oliveira
Federal University of Goiás, Goiânia, Brazil
Department of Veterinary Medicine, School of Veterinary Medicine
and Animal Science, Federal University of Goiás, Goiânia, Brazil
Comp Clin Pathol (2017) 26:1199–1202