Hematology, plasma biochemistry, and antibodies to select viruses in wild-caught eastern Massasauga rattlesnakes (Sistrurus Catenatus Catenatus) from Illinois

Matthew C. Allender, Mark A. Mitchell, Christopher A. Phillips, Karen Gruszynski, Val R. Beasley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


During the 2004 field season, blood was collected from Eastern massasauga rattlesnakes (Sistrurus catenatus catenatus) in the Carlyle Lake (Carlyle, Illinois, USA) and Allerton Park (Monticello, Illinois, USA) populations to derive baseline complete blood count and plasma biochemistry data and to assess the prevalence of antibodies to West Nile virus (WNV) and ophidian paramyxovirus (OPMV). Massasaugas were located for sampling through visual encounter surveys. Body weight, snout-vent length, total protein, globulins, sodium, and potassium were normally distributed among the survey population. Aspartate aminotransferase, creatine kinase, albumin, calcium, uric acid, white blood cell count, heterophils, lymphocytes, monocytes, eosinophils, and basophils were non-normally distributed within these animals. Female snakes had significantly shorter tail lengths; lower blood glucose, packed cell volumes, and absolute azurophil counts; and higher plasma calcium and phosphorus concentrations than did males. None of the snakes tested (n=21) were seropositive for WNV, whereas all (n=20) were seropositive for OPMV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-114
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of wildlife diseases
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006



  • Biochemistry
  • Hematology
  • Massasauga
  • Ophidian paramyxovirus
  • Rattlesnake
  • Serology
  • Sistrurus catenatus catenatus
  • West Nile virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology

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