Due to logistical problems in obtaining sufficient blood samples from apparently healthy animals in the wild in order to establish normal haematological reference values, only limited information regarding the blood platelet count and morphology of free-living lions (Panthera leo) is available. This study provides information on platelet counts and describes their morphology with particular reference to size in two normal, healthy and free-ranging lion populations. Blood samples were collected from a total of 16 lions. Platelet counts, determined manually, ranged between 218 and 358 x 109/ℓ. Light microscopy showed mostly activated platelets of various sizes with prominent granules. At the ultrastructural level the platelets revealed typical mammalian platelet morphology. However, morphometricanalysis revealed a significant difference (P < 0.001) in platelet size between the two groups of animals. Basic haematological information obtained in this study may be helpful in future comparative studies between animals of the same species as well as in other felids.
Du Plessis, L. (2009). Blood platelet counts, morphology and morphometry in lions, Panthera leo. The Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research, 76(3), 317–21. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21105599