The postmortem examination is a valuable part of the diagnostic work-up. Shared by a veterinary pathologist with a special interest in birds, this guide to avian necropsy provides comprehensive instructions for the avian postmortem exam. This article offers step-by-step guidance on avian necropsy with a variety of photographs and video clips that illustrate useful clinical techniques and normal avian anatomy. Feel confident in your knowledge of avian anatomy? You can also “Test Yourself” by identifying the structures shown in four separate images.
Is your patient strong enough to handle manual restraint and a complete physical examination? In the debilitated or dyspneic patient, initially it may be prudent to place the patient in an incubator or oxygen cage in a dark, quiet room before evaluation. Even after the bird has had time to gather its strength and calm down after the stress of transport, it may only be strong enough to handle diagnostic testing, including physical examination, and treatment in stages.
Abdominocentesis or coelomocentesis may be indicated for the accumulation of fluid within one or more of the peritoneal cavities. Peritoneal fluid can accumulate with a variety of diseases, including chronic liver disease, amyloidosis in waterfowl, iron storage disease in mynah birds and toucans, coelomic tumors in budgerigar parakeets, viral infections like Marek’s disease (resulting in cardiac tumors), peritonitis, congestive heart failure, ovarian cysts, and trauma. This article reviews the potential complications of this clinical technique, the equipment needed, sample handling, and cytodiagnosis.