EFFECTS OF WINTER TICK (DERMACENTOR ALBIPICTUS) ON BLOOD CHARACTERISTICS OF CAPTIVE MOOSE (ALCES ALCES)
Eighteen moose calves were raised in captivity. Seven and 6 moose were infested with approximately 21,000 and 42,000 larval winter ticks (Dermacentor albipictus), respectively. Five moose were uninfested controls. Blood was collected between October 1982 and April 1983 analyzed for 17 hematologic and biochemical parameters. Tick infestation level (0, 21,000, and 42,000 ticks) and tick activity (inactive versus active) produced different patterns of response in packed cell volume, gamma-globulin, and lactate dehydrogenase. Although there was significant variation in these blood parameters in relation to level of tick infestation and activity of ticks, the magnitude of the tick effects was small. Sex of moose did not affect these 3 blood parameters. Packed cell volume, hemoglobin, red blood cell counts, and serum glutamic oxalacetic transaminase values from calves in this study were much lower than values reported previously for North American cervids. Although there was limited impact of ticks of hematologic and biochemical parameters of well fed captive moose, it may be important to consider infestation with winter ticks when using blood parameters to assess nutritive condition of wild moose.
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