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Amphibians, reptiles and fish
Increased BUN and glucose in a group of San Cristóbal galapagos tortoises (Chelonoidis chathamensis)
  1. Anthony J. Cerreta1,
  2. Shelly L. Vaden1,
  3. Gregory A. Lewbart1,
  4. Juan Pablo Muñoz-Pérez2,3,4 and
  5. Diego Páez-Rosas5,6
  1. 1Clinical Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA
  2. 2Galápagos Science Center, University San Francisco de Quito, Isla San Cristobal, Ecuador
  3. 3University of the Sunshine Coast USC, Sippy Downs, Queensland, Australia
  4. 4Fundación Equilibrio Azul, Machalilla, Ecuador
  5. 5University of San Francisco de Quito, Isla San Cristobal, Galápagos, Ecuador
  6. 6Galápagos National Park, Isla San Cristobal, Ecuador
  1. Correspondence to Dr Shelly L. Vaden; slvaden{at}


Veterinary health examinations were performed on 19 captive tortoises in seminatural conditions at the ‘Galapaguera of Cerro Colorado’ and at the ‘Otoy Ranch’ on San Cristóbal Island, Galápagos. No abnormalities were found during physical examination, but there were significant increases in glucose and blood urea nitrogen concentrations in the tortoises sampled at the Otoy Ranch (p = 0.001 and p < 0.001, respectively). The glucose concentration in tortoises at the Otoy Ranch was also increased compared with health assessments conducted 1 year previously. It is suspected that diet is responsible for these differences, due to the fact that in the wild, Galapagos tortoises consume large quantities of low energy forage and previous studies have correlated a captive diet with excess dietary protein to a shortened life expectancy. These peripheral blood chemistry abnormalities constitute a need for future research in the nutrition of the Galapagos tortoise to help ensure the health and survival of these species.

  • chelonoidis chathamensis
  • galapagos tortoises
  • blood glucose
  • blood urea nitrogen
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  • Contributors All authors presented forth for this case report meet the conditions of authorship.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Authors have additional data from one year after this health assessment that supports the findings in this study.

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