Hematologic and Biochemical Reference Intervals and Urinary Test Results for Wild-caught Adult Southern Giant Pouched Rats ( Cricetomys ansorgei)

J Am Assoc Lab Anim Sci. 2021 Nov 1;60(6):616-629. doi: 10.30802/AALAS-JAALAS-20-000154. Epub 2021 Aug 27.


Southern giant pouched rats (Cricetomys ansorgei) are muroid rodents native to subSaharan Africa. They are increasingly used as service animals because of their keen sense of smell and are primarily known for clearing minefields in Africa. The objectives of this study were to determine hematologic and biochemical reference intervals from clinically healthy wild-caught captive adult rats, to describe the cytochemical staining reactions of peripheral blood leukocytes, and to document urinalysis findings. Blood samples were collected from the coccygeal artery of 60 isoflurane-anesthetized rats (36 males and 24 females) and analyzed with automated hematologic and biochemical analyzers; manual differential cell counts were performed on modified Wright-stained blood smears. Urine was collected by cystocentesis, and dipsticks were analyzed on a urine analyzer, with visual examination of unstained sediments. Samples from a male rat with chronic renal disease were excluded from analysis. Reference intervals were determined according to guidelines established by the American Society of Veterinary Clinical Pathology. Lymphocytes were the dominant leukocyte in peripheral blood and granular lymphocytes were identified in most animals. Male rats had significantly higher RBC, absolute reticulocyte counts, and MCV than did female rats. Minor sex-associated differences in urea nitrogen concentration and GGT activity were noted. Leukocytes showed unique cytochemical staining characteristics. Small amounts of protein and bilirubin were found in the urine of rats of both sexes and of female rats, respectively, particularly in concentrated urine. These results will provide benchmarks for determining health status and identifying disease in this species of rat.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Cell Count / veterinary
  • Female
  • Hematologic Tests* / veterinary
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Reference Values
  • Rodentia*