Blood profiling is a helpful tool in detecting the health status, metabolic diseases, nutritional deficiencies, and welfare of animals. Body weights, body temperatures, hematological and serum biochemical parameters, enzymes, and electrolytes in both sexes of farm emus at the beginning of their breeding season (November in Canada), were determined. The reference interval for each analyte was also calculated. Emus have lower body temperatures (37.2 ± 0.2) than other poultry species. There was no significant between-sex difference in BW, body temperature, and all the hematological and enzyme parameters measured. However, females had significantly (P < 0.001) higher serum calcium, phosphorus, albumin, total protein, globulin, and triglyceride levels than males, probably in preparation for egg laying. We also examined our findings in light of their sex-role reversal in incubation and brooding. Contrary to other avian species in which only females incubate and brood, there was no sex difference in the hematological and enzyme parameters measured in emus. We found that emus are similar to other ratite species with respect to the changes in protein, globulin, triglyceride, and calcium levels. The findings from our study contribute to the database for reference emu hematological and serum enzyme, metabolite, and electrolyte values.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Funding for this study was provided by the British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture and Lands and was administered by the University of British Columbia Specialty Birds Research Committee (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada). Part of the laboratory analyses were carried out at the Agriculture and AgriFood Canada Lacombe Research Centre (Lacombe, Alberta, Canada). Dwayne Harder (TryHarder Emu Farms, Denholm, Saskatchewan, Canada) provided access to his emus. June Kim (University of British Columbia Avian Research Centre, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada) assisted in sample collection.