Blood L-Lactate Concentration as an Indicator of Outcome in Roe Deer (Capreolus capreolus) Admitted to a Wildlife Rescue Center

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Year of Publication:
Elena Di Lorenzo, Riccardo Rossi, Fabiana Ferrari, Valeria Martini, Stefano Comazzi
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Roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) are among the most frequent patients of rescue centers in Italy. Three outcomes are possible: natural death, euthanasia, or treatment and release. The aim of the present study is to propose blood L-lactate concentration as a possible prognostic biomarker that may assist veterinarians in the decision-making process. Sixty-three roe deer, admitted to one rescue center in the period between July 2018 and July 2019, were sampled and divided into 4 groups according to their outcome: (1) spontaneous death (17 cases), (2) humanely euthanized (13 cases), (3) fully recovered and released (13 cases), and (4) euthanized being unsuitable for release (20 cases). In addition, blood samples from 14 hunted roe deer were analyzed as controls. Whole blood lactate concentrations were measured with a point of care lactate meter. Differences among groups were close to statistical significance (p = 0.51). A cut-off value of 10.2 mmol/L was identified: all the animals with higher values died or were humanely euthanized. The results suggest that roe deer with lactatemia higher than 10.2 mmol/L at admission, have a reduced prognosis for survival during the rehabilitation period, regardless of the reason for hospitalization and the injuries reported. Therefore, humane euthanasia should be considered for these animals.


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