Recent years have seen a dramatic increase in the numbers of American bison (Bison bison) raised commercially. As commercial bison production grows, new information is needed on all aspects of production including disease syndromes seen in this species. Critical to the need to assess disease in bison is the need for normal parameters, particularly serum chemistries and hematological values. The few documented previous studies often include low numbers of animals, semi-wild populations, or address specialized groups. There was a need, therefore, for a study evaluating baseline clinical chemistry and hematology values in a large number of American bison. This work is an attempt to produce reliable normal values against which diseased samples can be compared for therapeutic purposes.
This is the first study to report selenium levels in bison. Furthermore, this is the first study to stratify bison selenium levels by use or non-use of selenium supplementation and the effect of grazing selenium toxic pastures. These levels would suggest that bison have a much higher tolerance level for selenium than cattle, and they may even have a higher requirement for selenium in their diet.
The results of this study provide veterinarians and other bison health workers with usable clinical blood values.