Creatinine is maintained at a reasonably constant level that can be measured in blood and urine samples. A rise in creatinine levels may indicate poor kidney function or even kidney failure. It has been found that many of the manatees brought into a rehabilitation facility (for treatment of an illness or injury) develop elevated creatinine levels after they are released back to the wild.
Hugh and Buffett are participating in a study designed to find out what causes a rehabilitated manatees creatinine level to rise. The ability to obtain voluntary blood and urine samples from Hugh and Buffett allows researchers to monitor changes in the manatees creatinine levels while specific changes are made to their captive environment. The effects of a simulated transport, partial fasting, full fasting, diet-type changes and salinity changes are being investigated.