Use of refractometry for determination of psittacine plasma protein concentration

Carolyn Cray, Marilyn Rodriguez, Kristopher L. Arheart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background: Previous studies have demonstrated both poor and good correlation of total protein concentrations in various avian species using re-fractometry and biuret methodologies. Objectives: The purpose of the current study was to compare these 2 techniques of total protein determination using plasma samples from several psittacine species and to determine the effect of cholesterol and other solutes on refractometry results. Methods: Total protein concentration in heparinized plasma samples without visible lipemia was analyzed by refractometry and an automated biuret method on a dry reagent analyzer (Ortho 250). Cholesterol, glucose, and uric acid concentrations were measured using the same analyzer. Results were compared using Deming regression analysis, Bland-Altman bias plots, and Spearman's rank correlation. Results: Correlation coefficients (r) for total protein results by refractometry and biuret methods were 0.49 in African grey parrots (n = 28), 0.77 in Amazon parrots (20), 0.57 in cockatiels (20), 0.73 in cockatoos (36), 0.86 in conures (20), and 0.93 in macaws (38) (P < .01). Cholesterol concentration, but not glucose or uric acid concentrations, was significantly correlated with total protein concentration obtained by refractometry in Amazon parrots, conures, and macaws (n = 25 each, P 〈 .05), and trended towards significance in African grey parrots and cockatoos (P = .06). Conclusions: Refractometry can be used to accurately measure total protein concentration in nonlipemic plasma samples from some psittacine species. Method and species-specific reference intervals should be used in the interpretation of total protein values.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)438-442
Number of pages5
JournalVeterinary Clinical Pathology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2008


  • Avian
  • Biuret method
  • Refractometry
  • Total protein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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