From: Steve Austin
Date: 2001-05-14 21:46:00 UTC
Subject: Re: [Ferret-Health-list] calcium levels; blood tests &
) What would cause calcium to be low for a few months, return
to normal, then drop again? There haven't been any changes in
appetite or diet.
2) What is "hemolysis" and how does its presence affect RBC,
HGB, HCT, MCV, MCH, and MCHC levels?
3) What is "polychromasia"?
4) What exactly are monocytes and what causes them to become
5) Do elevated lymphocytes indicate the possibility of a
particular type of infection or disease (such as lymphoma -
even if the WBC is normal), or simply suggest some sort of
infection (like a chronic, smoldering one) or disease is/may
be present? (I hope this isn't one of those "no such thing as
a dumb question" questions.)
6) Lastly, would ingesting NutriCal a few minutes before a
blood draw cause a slightly elevated glucose?
1.Can answer some, mostly as related to humans. Calcium is
measured as the total, about 1/2 is bound to protiens (the
active form is the ionized ca but is not measured directly,
and is not dependent on the proteins). So if the albumin is
low ,and since Ca. binds to albumin then the calcium is
artificially low on the test results. So, if the albumin was
down because of not eating well, or loss in the urine ( in
humans more likely), then the calcium can go up and down. Of
course, Calcium can also go up and down if it there is
increase use, intake of Vit D , loss or change in Parathyroid
hormone. Also, can change some if blood is drawn after
tourniquite on for a while. Don't think it is so important in
2. Hemolysis is the breakdown of the RBC's- in humans they
usually live 120 days, but if they hemolysis and die sooner
then they have to be replaced by the bone marrow. which if it
is not affected by the cause of the hemolysis, should turn on
and start to make more blood. This blood doesn't have time to
mature before it is released and has more nucleated centers.
The marrow can't keep up and the person/ferret starts to
become anemic, depending on the rate of hemolysis. The cells
look fragmented or shape is different and there is an increase
retic count ( if marrow is working), an increase in bilirubin
if the liver can't keep up with the breakdown,etc. So RBC
less, HGB and HCT low, MCHC bigger if there are spherocytes or
cold antibodies, or normal.
3. Monocytes are a kind of WBC. Usually only 1-2% or so of
normal, if high it isn't specific for anything that I know of,
but in children usually attribituted to viral illness if
acute. Although can be seen in protozoal disease, few other
infections, and in other conditions, like recovering from
4. Only true way to diagnose lymphoma is on biopsy, since it
is primarily affecting the lymph nodes, it is not like
leukemia where you may see a great change in the WBC-
suggestive of cancer (like blasts). Lymphocytes should always
be higher % than polys ( or neutophils), polys are WBC's and
are usually the first line defense to fighting infections.
Polys are higher in bacterial infections, and when they are
being used too much the more mature form of bands are found,
so polys and bands are a sign of acute infection. Certain
conditions do exist where there is an abnormal increase in
lymphocytes - like 80% or more, in children Whooping cough
comes to mind.
Of course, would welcome any comments or corrections if
someone sees fit.