Reference values for some clinical, hematobiochemical
and electrocardiographic parameters in miniature
donkeys: the effect of sex, age and season
Amir Saeed Samimi
Received: 22 November 2016 /Accepted: 5 May 2017 / Published online: 19 May 2017
Springer-Verlag London 2017
Abstract In the current study, we aimed to establish reference
values for the most important clinical, hematobiochemical and
electrocardiographic (ECG) parameters and evaluate the effect
of sex, age and season in miniature donkey. We hypothesized
that these parameters in this valuable breed of donkey would
be different from those of other species of equidae. Twenty
apparently healthy miniature donkeys aged 1–8 years and
weighing averagely 115 ± 10 kg, with an average height of
0.83 ± 0.3 m, were used in this study. Based on sex, age and
season of sampling, the animals were divided into groups.
Animals less than 2 years old, between 2 and 5 years old
and those over 5 years of age were considered foal, young
and adult, respectively. The ECG was attached as a bipolar
base-apex lead and indices measured and analyzed were P,
QRS and T wave amplitude and duration and duration of
PR, QT and RR intervals. Red blood cell (RBC), white blood
cell (WBC) and WBC differential counts were performed
using a hemacytometer. Sera were collected for measurement
of sodium (Na
), potassium (K
), chloride (Cl
), magnesium (Mg
) and phosphorus (P
tions. Heart rate (HR), PR and RR intervals were different
from reference ranges. Male and female animals showed no
significant differences in clinical, hematobiochemical and
ECG parameters except in serum concentrations of Ca
(P < 0.05). There were significant differences in HR,
RR interval and serum level of P
among age groups.
Eosinophil in autumn was significantly higher than that in
spring (P < 0.05). The configuration of P and T waves was
mainly biphasic and monophasic, respectively. The majority of
ECGs was of the QS configuration. Differences between sexes
and seasons and among age groups were insignificant (P >0.05).
The data obtained in the present study are the first reference
values to be published for the miniature donkey and can be useful
in our understanding of this breed’s normal parameters, which
will help veterinarians to appropriately interpret laboratory data.
Results of the present study can be used for monitoring the health
status, diagnosing the diseases and improving the management
and conservation strategies of this breed.
Keywords Miniature donkey
Miniature donkeys, because of their rarity and entertainment
value, occupy a unique place among all domesticated animals
in some countries. Moreover, because of their small body size
and attractive and friendly face, they are considered as pets.
Nowadays, there are large populations of miniature donkeys
in the Mediterranean regions including the Middle East,
Africa and Europe; however, a smaller number of them live
in Australia and the USA (Kojouri et al. 2007; Mozaffari et al.
2010; Girardi et al. 2015;Zakarietal.2016).
Determination of normal values for physiological,
hematobiochemical and ECG parameters in animals helps vet-
erinarians corroborate the clinical diagnosis (infection, inflam-
mation or trauma), evaluate the severity of disease and admin-
ister the appropriate treatment (Roubies et al. 2006;
Shamsaddini Bafti and Mozaffari 2012;AlShafeietal.
2015; Zakari et al. 2016). The importance of obtaining normal
hematobiochemical and ECG indices for specific breeds of
animals, as well as the high variability of these parameters in
* Amir Saeed Samimi
Department of Clinical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine,
Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman, Kerman 7616914111, Iran
Comp Clin Pathol (2017) 26:1075–1081