Background: Advantages of handheld and small bench-top biochemical analyzers include requirements for smaller sample volume and practicality for use in the field or in practices, but little has been published on the performance of these instruments compared with standard reference methods in analysis of reptilian blood.
Objective: The aim of this study was to compare reptilian blood biochemical values obtained using the Abaxis VetScan Classic bench-top analyzer and a Heska i-STAT handheld analyzer with values obtained using a Roche Hitachi 911 chemical analyzer.
Methods: Reptiles, including 14 bearded dragons (Pogona vitticeps), 4 blue-tongued skinks (Tiliqua gigas), 8 Burmese star tortoises (Geochelone platynota), 10 Indian star tortoises (Geochelone elegans), 5 red-tailed boas (Boa constrictor), and 5 Northern pine snakes (Pituophis melanoleucus melanoleucus), were manually restrained, and a single blood sample was obtained and divided for analysis. Results for concentrations of albumin, bile acids, calcium, glucose, phosphates, potassium, sodium, total protein, and uric acid and activities of aspartate aminotransferase and creatine kinase obtained from the VetScan Classic and Hitachi 911 were compared. Results for concentrations of chloride, glucose, potassium, and sodium obtained from the i-STAT and Hitachi 911 were compared.
Results: Compared with results from the Hitachi 911, those from the VetScan Classic and i-STAT had variable correlations, and constant or proportional bias was found for many analytes. Bile acid data could not be evaluated because results for 44 of 45 samples fell below the lower linearity limit of the VetScan Classic.
Conclusions: Although the 2 portable instruments might provide measurements with clinical utility, there were significant differences compared with the reference analyzer, and development of analyzer-specific reference intervals is recommended.