, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 113-116
Date: 18 Mar 2006

Peripheral erythrophagocytosis in two reptiles

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Two cases of peripheral erythrophagocytosis in reptiles are presented. The first case was from an anorectic and depressed adult bearded dragon (Pogona vitticeps) that had a massively elevated white blood cell count (158×109/l) due to an increase in circulating azurophils with approximately 12% of these cells exhibiting erythrophagia. The second case was from an adult Children’s python (Liasis childreni) with a protracted history of anorexia after an episode of respiratory tract disease. Blood from the snake demonstrated a moderate basophilia (2.3×109/l) and a normal azurophil count (4.1×109/l) but with approximately 66% of the azurophils containing phagocytosed erythrocytes. While the cause of the erythrophagocytosis could not be definitively identified in these cases, a leukemoid-type monocyte population in the bearded dragon resulted in a differential of myeloproliferative disease, while the Children’s python exhibited cytological features suggestive of acquired haemophagocytic syndrome.