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Important Avian Diseases. CVM 6882. Overview of Important Avian Diseases. Additional Important Diseases. “Liver Disease” Paramyxoviruses (Newcastle) Adenoviruses Serratospiculosis (Mid-east Falcons) Salmonella Pasteurella. Aspergillosis. Chlamydia. AgentChlamydia psittaci

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Important Avian Diseases

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Important Avian Diseases

CVM 6882

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Overview of Important Avian Diseases

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Additional Important Diseases

  • “Liver Disease”

  • Paramyxoviruses (Newcastle)

  • Adenoviruses

  • Serratospiculosis (Mid-east Falcons)

  • Salmonella

  • Pasteurella

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  • AgentChlamydia psittaci

  • Other C. trachomatis, C. pneumoniae (TWAR)

  • Character:Intracellular parasite

  • Infective form:Elementary Body (EB)

  • Reproductive:Reticulate Body (RB)

  • Infection:Aerosal, water

  • Incubation:Days to years

  • Zoonotic

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Clinical Appearance: Classical Psittacosis

  • Respiratory Involvement: airsacculitis

  • Leukocytosis, heterophilia, monocytosis

  • Anemia

  • AST elevation, TP, bile acids

  • Hepatomegaly, splenomegaly\

  • Fibrinopericardititis

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Avian Species Most Affected

  • Budgerigars

  • Cockatiels

  • Amazons

  • Macaws (most severely affected)

  • Love birds (endemic)

  • Pigeons

  • Not Cockatoos

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Psittacosis Treatment

  • Chlortetracycline Impregnated Pellets -- 45 day treatment required

  • Oral Doxycycline

  • Injectable Doxycycline (1/w)

  • Fluoroquinolones

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Diagnostic Dilemmas

  • Life Cycle of Organism

  • Stage of disease when sample is taken -- largely unknown

  • Latency -- may last for years -- no footprints

  • Variability in virulence

  • Sensitivity and Specificity of available tests

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Diagnostic Tests: 2 types

  • Antigen Capture

  • Antibody Detection

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Antigen Detection

  • Kodak Surecell: used on feces, limited supplies

  • Clearview -- lacks specificity, many false positives

  • PCR: increased usage (cont. Research)

  • Growth in Tissue Culture -- gold standard, cultured from tissue or feces

  • Special stains-- Gieminez

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Antibody Tests

  • Non-available for in-house testing

  • Grimes Latex Agglutination (he died)

  • Modified CF Tests -- variable

  • Numerous Indirect ELISAS

  • BELISA: direct ELISA -- many false positives

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Control in Breeding OperationsE.G. Commercial Cockatiels

  • Testing - PCR or culture; ( 10 - 20 pairs at end of breeding cycle or birds showing clinical signs)

  • Frequency: Year 1- every 3 months Year 2 - every 6 months Annually thereafter unless positive resultCommence with year 1 after positive result

  • Positive case - quarantine, treat, retest 4 weeks post treatment

  • Cull and treat

  • Test and quarantine any incoming birds

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Avian Tuberculosis

  • Agents:M. avium, M. genovense

  • World-wide distribution

  • Chronic ganulamatous disease

  • Agent is an Acid-Fast Organism

  • Diagnosis is made by cytological examination of affected organs

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TB: Clinical Appearances

  • Chronic Emaciation: Liver involvement

  • Subcutaneous Granulomas

  • Diarrhea: Intestinal Lesions

  • Dyspnea: Pulmonary Consolidation

  • Paralysis: Osseous Tubercles

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Treatment and Control

  • Quarantine

  • Isolation

  • Depopulation

  • Antibiotics: not recommended

    • Isoniazid

    • Ethambutol

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  • Agents: T. gallinae, gallinarum

    • Vesogenic, mesogenic, lentogenic strains

  • Introduced from Europe

  • Commensal in Columbiformes

  • Target: oral and pharyngeal mucosa, occasionally respiratory system

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Trichomoniasis Continued

  • Appearance: raised yellow-tan plaques embedded in mucosa, obliterating the choanal slite, palate or base of tongue

  • Transmission: ingestion of live flagellates

  • Clinical signs: difficult prehension, swallowing leading to debilitation

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Trich: Diffs and Treatment

  • Differentials: Abscesses, foreign materials, Capillaria spp., Candida

  • Treatment

    • Metronidazole: 30 - 50 mg/kg

    • Carnidazole 10 - 100 mg/kg

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Herpes Virus Infections

  • Marek’s disease - lymphoproliferative, neural disease

  • Duck plague - enteritis

  • ILT - chickens

  • Pacheco’s disease - hepatitis

  • Inclusion body hepatitis - raptors, cranes, and storks

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Herpes of Falcons

  • Falconid HV-1; closely related to Columbid HV-1, the latter being the source for the former

  • Clinical:

    • Lymphopenia

    • Acute Death

    • Signs of liver disease

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Pacheco’s Disease

  • Psittacid HV-1,2,3

  • South American Origin

  • Cockatoos and Amazons die peracutely

  • Macaws die acutely

  • Conures (Nanday and Patagonian) incriminated as carriers, but ……...

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Management of Herpes Virus

  • No effective individual treatment although acyclovir will reduce death rate in an aviary

  • No vaccines available

  • Hygiene and Sanitation

  • Gyrfalcons and pigeons don’t mix

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Pox Viruses

  • DNA Virus -- many strains

    • Falcon Pox

    • Pigeon Pox

    • Fowl Pox

    • Peacock Pox

    • Canary Pox (most pathogenic)

  • High degree of host specificity

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Clinical Aspects

  • Transmitted by biting insects - virus can live in salivary gland for several weeks

  • Disease Forms:

    • Epithelial Crusts

    • Diphtheroid - Wet pox

    • Septicemic form -- Canary Pox

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Treatment of Pox

  • Debride or cauterize lesions

  • Control secondary bacterial infections

  • Selective Vaccination

    • Canary

    • Chicken

    • Turkey

    • Others -- see Ritchie, Harrison, Harrison

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Macaw Wasting Disease

  • Proventricular Dilatation Syndrome

  • Viral Etiology confirmed

  • Neurotropic

    • Myenteric Plexus of Mid g.I. Tract

    • Crop

    • Other neural tissue

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Macaw Wasting

  • Species: all psittacines, contagious

  • Signs may not appear for several months after exposure

  • Signs: slowing g.I. Tract, undigested seeds in stool, cachexia,, dehydration, death

  • No treatment, no vaccination

  • Aviaries: depopulate

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Paramyxoviruses: Newcastle (VVND)

  • Newcastle: PMV-1

  • PMV2-9: PMV-3 causes mild neurologic signs in pigeons Clinical

  • Signs:

    • Diarrhea, respiratory signs followed by neurologic signs (torticollis)

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Budgerigar Fledgling Disease:Polyoma Virus

  • Highly infectious, stable

  • Causes

    • Budgerigar Fledgling Disease: peracute death with near 100% mortality in birds < 15d

    • French Molt: feather dystrophy syndrome

    • Polyserositis in other psittacines with bleeding syndromes

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Other BFD (Polyoma)

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Other Polyoma

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Polyoma (cont)

  • Diagnosis:

    • Feather lesions indistinguishable from BFD

    • Antemortem: Cloacal swab and culture

    • Postmortem: DNA probes

  • Control

    • Isolation of shedders away from neonates

    • Control feather dust and other hygiene

    • Vaccinate -- killed vaccine available

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Beak and Feather Disease

  • Circovirus Disease

  • Septicemia and peracute death in nestlings

  • Beak Necrosis,Feather Dystrophies, worsening with each successive molt

  • Endemic in wild cockatoos (Australia)

  • Also will infect New World Parrots

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Beak and Feather

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Beak and Feather (cont)

  • Diagnosis: Signs, biopsy, DNA Probes

  • No treatment, no vaccination

  • No spontaneous recovery; affected birds die from secondary problems

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G- Bacteria








Trematodes (esp. cockatoos)



Fatty Liver

Iron Storage Disease






“Liver Disease”: Causes

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Physical and chemical

Elevated AST, CK, Bile Acids

G. I. Stasis

Feather abnormalities

Chronically overgrown beak and claws

Hepatic Encephalopathy


Weight loss






Liver Disease Signs:

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Liver Disease Signs

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Liver Disease Treatment

  • Fluids

  • Hyperalimentation

  • Lactulose

  • Antibiotics

    • Doxycycline

    • Enrofloxacine

    • Metronidazole or Clindamycin

  • Other Specific Chemotherapy as indicated

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