Physical Characteristics, Hematology, and Serum Chemistry of Freeranging Gray Wolves, Canis lupus, in Southcentral Alaska

Matthew J. Butler, Warren B. Ballard, Heather A. Whitlaw


Examination of morphometric characteristics and blood parameters has become a widely used tool for assessing the physiological and nutritional status of wild and captive animals. During 1976 through 1984, 155 Gray Wolves (Canis lupus) were chemically immobilized in south-central Alaska. Of those, we obtained physical measurements from 132 and blood samples from 121 individuals. Also, 208 carcasses of harvested and dead radiocollared Wolves were weighed and measured. We obtained blood samples from three of the fresh carcasses. We measured age, body weight, skull length and width, and upper and lower canine length. We analyzed blood serum for Ca, P, Fe, chlorides, creatinine, glucose, lactic dehydrogenase, alkaline phosphatase, glutamic oxalic transaminase, triglyceride, beta globulin, serum urea nitrogen, and uric acid. We obtained packed cell volume and hemoglobin values from whole blood. We classified samples by season, sex, and age. Seasonal differences were observed for physical measurements, packed cell volume, alkaline phosphatase, and serum urea nitrogen. Age differences were observed for physical measurements, hemoglobin, packed cell volume, alkaline phosphatase, P, Ca, creatinine, serum urea nitrogen, and percent femur bone marrow fat. However, differences among sexes were observed for physical measurements only. These data provide a baseline for physical condition, hematology, and serum chemistry for free-ranging Gray Wolves.


Gray Wolf; Canis lupus; blood, chemistry; hematology; measurements; physical; serum; Alaska

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