This live webinar was presented by Lorenzo Crosta, med Vet, PhD, DECZM, EBVS European Veterinary Specialist in Zoo Health Management. The objective of this presentation was to assist the exotic animal practitioner, with little or no experience in avian neonatology and pediatrics. This presentation discussed the logical diagnostic plan in the young bird. The approach to common pediatric conditions, ranging from developmental and orthopedic problems to common traumatic injuries and infectious diseases, was also explored. Practical clinical examples were presented.
LafeberVet’s list of avian medicine links will assist your navigation of some of the avian medicine resources on LafeberVet. Educate yourself before laying hands on the avian patient by reviewing the basics of avian anatomy and physiology as well as important principles of handling and restraint. Then explore content on the examination and history, behavior, housing and nutrition, as well as supportive care techniques, diagnostics, basic therapeutics, and common presenting problems. Start with content listed in the rows titled, “Begin with…”, then expand your knowledge with other sections, such as “Learn more…”.
The raccoon roundworm, Baylisascaris procyonis is widespread in raccoons in North America, however this parasite has also been introduced to Europe and Asia. Use this client education handout to increase awareness of this zoonotic pathogen in caretakers of young children, home owners living in areas where raccoons might be present, as well as workers exposed to raccoons or their feces during the course of their day. This handout provides simple tips that can be used to curb infection caused by the raccoon roundworm, emphasizing avoidance and prevention of exposure to infective eggs.
Zoonoses are diseases that are transmitted from animals to humans, and some estimate that 75% of emerging human infectious diseases are zoonotic. Many of these zoonoses come from non-domestic animals. This RACE-approved webinar recording presented by Marcy Souza, DVM, MPH MPPA, DABVP (Avian), DACVPM provided an overview of common zoonoses associated with non-domestic or exotic pets, including but not limited to salmonellosis, influenza, chlamydiosis, monkeypox, rabies, and various parasitic diseases. Recent outbreaks of zoonoses in exotic pets and people are also highlighted. Dr. Souza also discusses the potential role of non-domestic species in the emergence and/or transmission of novel pathogens in the future.
The birds of family Ramphastidae are found in South and Central America, from central Mexico to southern Brazil, and include the large toucans, the smaller aracaris, and the very small toucanets. This information sheet reviews natural history and taxonomy, as well as diet, housing, normal physiologic data and anatomy, restraint, behavior, and important medical conditions seen in family Ramphastidae.
Effective treatment of diseases requires accurate diagnose, and infectious diseases in avian medicine present special diagnostic challenges. Molecular diagnostic tools, such as DNA sequencing, are available to aid the urgent medical need to detect and identify all culprits that cause infections. Next-generation DNA sequencing offers the ability to diagnose infections using microbial DNA as the analyte, thus bypassing culture testing along with its deficiencies. This article briefly explains this useful laboratory technique as well as its applications in avian medicine…
Lafeber Company was proud to sponsor the 2021 Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians Student Case Report Contest. Veterinary medical students from all over the world were encouraged to write a 2-page case report about an exotic companion mammal seen at their college of veterinary medicine or during a clinical experience. Submissions closed in March and judges from the Research Committee evaluated the case reports received from seven nations. Judges were blinded to the students, mentors, co-authors, and institutions at which the cases were seen. Read the summary of each winning case report.
According to LitCovid, an open-resource literature hub developed with the support of the US National Institute of Health, over 14,000 relevant articles have been posted to PubMed on the 2019 novel coronavirus. Thousands more articles are available as pre-prints. Obviously this explosion of information can be intimidating for the busy veterinarian, but you can use the national and international resources (listed in Table) to stay current on the latest information. Then turn to this review article and our supplemental LafeberVet Literature Search as well as LafeberVet’s Coronavirus in Animals and Determinants of Viral Infectionto dive a bit deeper into our evolving knowledge of SARS-CoV-2.
Over 14,000 articles have been posted to PubMed on the 2019 novel coronavirus, known as SARS-CoV-2. Thousands more articles are available as pre-prints. Obviously this explosion of information can be intimidating for the busy veterinarian, but you can use the resources listed in Table 1 to stay current on the latest information. Then turn to […]
Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses named for the crown-like spike proteins on their surface. Coronaviruses cause disease in humans and animals, often circulating among camels, cats, and bats. Ferrets are susceptible to infection by the SARS coronavirus (SARS-COv-1), but pathogenicity and host susceptibility can differ based on the viral infective dose and laboratory SARS coronavirus strain. Studies are ongoing to investigate the respiratory pathology and transmission of COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) in experimental ferrets.
What determines the viral host range?
One of the critical determinants of viral host range is the interaction between the coronavirus spike (S) protein (Fig 1) and the host cell receptor. Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), a receptor for the attachment and uptake of the coronavirus that caused Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV-1), is widely expressed […]
A female, spayed miniature lop rabbit presented 1-week post spay with marked subcutaneous swelling along the entire length of the surgical incision. Subsequent debridement of the abscess and closure of the incision site was somewhat unsuccessful, with the patient returning for another debridement procedure, after which the wound was left open for continued flushing and debridement. Culture and sensitivity of the purulent material grew a multi-drug resistant Coagulase-positive Staphylococcus.
Ferrets are susceptible to several strains of human influenza virus, which is spread through the air from coughing, sneezing, and other respiratory secretions. The virus is not only spread from human to ferret, but ferret to ferret and from ferret to human as well. Share this handout with owners to educate them on measures to keep their furry family member healthy as well as the appearance of influenza virus in the ferret.
Inland bearded dragons are native to Australia and are a popular companion animal. Private breeders often select for desirable temperaments and various color morphologies in an effort to provide an ever-increasing variety to the pet trade. They are also bred commercially and sold by large pet retailers making them a widely available pet reptile…
The “Pigeon Disease Primer” explores important differential diagnoses for common clinical problems observed in pigeons and doves. Although the clinical approach to the columbiform relies on the same concepts of “One Medicine” used in all species, many of the infectious diseases of pigeons are relatively unique to this taxonomic group, or at least much more prevalent when compared to psittacine birds or songbirds.
Did you attend the Lafeber Symposium at the 2015 International Conference on Avian heRpetological and Exotic mammal medicine in Paris? View a recording of this encore, web-based seminar: “Medical Management of Psittacines with Bornavirus Ganglioneuritis (PDD)” by Susan Orosz, DVM, DABVP (Avian Practice), DECZM (Avian). This presentation on avian borna virus contains medium to advanced level content. The novice is encouraged to view the first hour of Dr. Orosz’s presentation “Anatomy & Physiology of the Avian Gastrointestinal Tract: Clinical Applications”, which includes a helpful review of avian gastrointestinal anatomy and physiology.
Red leg syndrome, also known as “pink belly disease” or bacterial dermatosepticemia, is one of the most common clinical conditions of captive frogs. Associated with peracute to acute bacterial septicemia, red leg is generally a disease of captive animals although the condition has also been implicated in rare mass mortalities of wild amphibians. This presenting problem article reviews clinical findings in red leg syndrome, pathogenesis of disease, as well as key points of urgent care and prognosis. The basics of case management are then reviewed: differential diagnoses, diagnostics, treatment, prevention and control.
The non-hyphal, zoosporic, chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) has caused widespread and dramatic population declines in both wild and captive amphibians worldwide. Use this table to review the basics of the infectious disease chytridiomycosis
Electrophoretic patterns among avian species have been found to be quite different from those seen in mammals. The protein electrophoresis patterns of psittacine species that have been studied generally include the presence of prealbumin in many species, lower normal concentrations of gamma-globulin, and increases in the…
Proventricular dilatation disease or PDD is one of the most frustrating avian conditions encountered today. The recent discovery of a causal relationship between PDD and avian bornavirus has not simplified the challenges that are faced. The detection of avian bornavirus infection is common in birds with PDD but is also detected in birds with other chronic diseases that are not diagnosed with PDD. Proventricular dilatation disease was first reported in the late 1970s…
Quarantine is a basic component of good preventive medicine. The purpose of quarantine is to protect both the existing collection and the new arrival. New birds are usually stressed and may be more susceptible to infectious diseases. The quarantine period also allows the new bird(s) to acclimate to its new environment, food, and owner. Proper client education is paramount to minimize and/or eliminate the risk of infectious disease outbreaks.
Psittacosis or ornithosis is caused by Chlamydophila psittaci, an obligate intracellular bacterial infection of birds. Chlamydophila psittaci may be excreted in feces and oculonasal discharge. Chlamydophila is environmentally labile but remains infectious for months in organic debris. Latently infected birds appear healthy but shed the organism intermittently for months to years. Stressors such as breeding, shipping, crowding, or climatic extremes may activate shedding.
Although Gram-negative bacteria and non-budding yeast can be normal gastrointestinal flora in the psittacine bird, these organisms can quickly overgrow in the debilitated chick. Signs of clinical disease can first manifest as crop stasis or stunting. A wide range of agents can cause problems, however important infectious diseases in the juvenile psittacine bird include avian polyomavirus, psittacine beak and feather disease, and candidiasis.
Individuals that work or live with birds may be at risk for zoonotic diseases. An average 250 human cases of Chlamydophila psittaci are reported annually in the United States.
Diarrhea is the most common problem in pet hamsters. In a recent survey of two large American commercial breeding facilities, approximately 3% of shipped hamsters develop diarrhea. Diarrhea caused by enterocolitis can occur in hamsters of any age or breed and is commonly known as “wet-tail”. Clinical signs in weanlings usually include diarrhea, anorexia, ruffled hair, dehydration, weight loss, and death. The mortality rate is often highest in…
The large size of the raptor eye and its relative lack of orbital protection superiorly and laterally means any form of head trauma frequently involves the eye and its associated structures. In one report, ocular injuries were most commonly caused by vehicular collision, gunshot and leghold traps. The most common clinical finding in birds of prey presented for medical attention is hyphema. Trauma may also lead to…
An average 250 human cases of Chlamydophila psittaci are reported annually in the United States. Clinical signs typically follows a 5 to 14 day incubation period. Disease ranges from subclinical to systemic illness with severe pneumonia. Most people demonstrate sudden onset fever, headache, malaise, and myalgia with a non-productive cough that can be accompanied by breathing difficulty and chest tightness. Splenomegaly and…
The ferret is a carnivore with a short, simple gastrointestinal tract and a relatively rapid gastrointestinal transit time. Diarrhea is the most common clinical sign in ferrets with gastrointestinal disease, with the exception of gastrointestinal foreign bodies where anorexia and weight loss are the primary presenting complaints.
Rhinitis or sinusitis, sometimes called “snuffles” in laymen’s terms, is usually characterized by unilateral or bilateral, mucopurulent nasal discharge, sneezing, and congestion. A subtle sign of upper respiratory tract disease can be discharge matted on the paws or the medial aspect of the forelimbs. Discharge may collect here as the rabbit fastidiously cleans its face with its forepaws. In the early stages of disease, discharge may not be evident on the nose or even on the paws, however close examination of…
The most common presentation of P. multocida infection is upper respiratory tract disease. Pasteurella multocida was identified as a cause of mucopurulent rhinitis in rabbits or “snuffles” in the 1920s. Clinical signs include mucopurulent nasal discharge, sneezing, congestion, and/or snoring. Infection of the nasolacrimal duct may extend to the conjunctiva causing ocular discharge and nasolacrimal duct obstruction. Affected rabbits may also have…
Although fungal disease is uncommon in small mammals, dermatophytosis is the most common mycosis seen in clinical practice. Despite the low incidence of clinical disease, rodents are common asymptomatic carriers of dermatophytes. Fungal pathogens are generally more important for their zoonotic potential. Rodents are frequently asymptomatic carriers of ringworm, and transmission of disease to human caretakers is not uncommon.
Most reptiles are asymptomatic carriers of Salmonella spp., which can be spread through direct or indirect contact with the reptile or its droppings. This brief zoonotic concern article asks: How is Salmonella transmitted to humans? Who is most at risk? What are the signs of salmonellosis in human patients? And how can reptile-associated salmonellosis be prevented?
Disseminated idiopathic myofasciitis (DIM) is a severe inflammatory disease that primarily affects skeletal, smooth, and cardiac muscles as well as surrounding connective tissues. This recently identified disease typically affects young ferrets, less than 18 months of age. The cause of DIM is unknown, but this condition is suspected to be an acquired immune-mediated disease. The onset of DIM is usually acute to subacute, followed by a rapid decline over 12-36 hours. The most prominent clinical signs include a high fever ranging from…
Clinical signs of upper respiratory tract disease in the ferret can include congestion, sneezing, oculonasal discharge, and non-specific signs of illness, such as reduced appetite, lethargy, and weight loss. If disease extends lower into the respiratory tract, cough, tachypnea, and…
Tularemia is a highly pathogenic disease of animals and humans that has been reported throughout the northern hemisphere including North America, Europe, and Asia. In the United States, naturally occurring infections have been reported in all states except Hawaii. This brief review article answers several questions. What species are most commonly affected by tularemia? How do humans contract tularemia? What are the signs of tularemia in humans, and what can be done to prevent exposure?
The physical and psychological benefits of pet ownership have been well established, however close contact with pets is not without risks including the potential for transmission of zoonotic disease. Rodents can carry a number of potential pathogens including lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus. Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus is found throughout the world in wild rodents. Disease is especially common in…
It is important for animal health care professionals to recognize the potential hazards of working with passerine birds so that appropriate measures can be taken to minimize the risk of contracting disease. Wild bird isolates of Salmonella enterica serotype typhimurium may not represent a large zoonotic risk to the general population, however the vast majority of sick and dying songbirds harbor this microbe.
Signs of avian polyomavirus type 1 in the budgerigar parakeet can be quite variable. Feather dystrophy or abnormal feather growth can lead to deformed flight feathers. Affected birds are unable to fly and are called “runners” or “creepers”. “French molt” is a term sometimes used for this slow, debilitating disease in parakeets characterized by progressive development of abnormal feathers. Bleeding is another hallmark of clinical avian polyomavirus infection…
Bite wounds are not confined to small animal practice. Bite wounds are a common and significant problem in clinical practice, and LafeberVet’s presenting problem article features urgent care tips for this universal problem of veterinary patients. The incidence of bite wounds increases with a history of exposure to the outdoors or to other animals. The owner may even report a fight or interaction that results in a bite wound.
Unlike many waterfowl species, Canada geese tend to travel further from water to feed. In turn, this allows birds to spread their feces over large areas. While feeding, one Canada goose can produce approximately one dropping per minute. Total daily fecal production may reach approximately 2 pounds or more of waste per goose.
Approach to the passerine bird relies on the same concepts of “One Medicine” used in all animals. Nevertheless many of the infectious agents diagnosed in songbirds are relatively unique to this taxonomic group, or at least much more prevalent when compared to psittacine birds or birds of prey.
Lymphoid leukosis and Marek’s disease virus are two diseases of the avian leukosis complex. These conditions are commercially important diseases of poultry seen worldwide. Lymphoid leukosis and Marek’s disease were the first neoplastic diseases shown to be transmitted and caused by viruses…
Although the rare veterinarian routinely deals with large numbers of waterfowl on a regular basis, many avian veterinarians encounter waterfowl only sporadically as wildlife rehabilitation cases, backyard poultry, and/or zoo specimens. When consulting textbooks for help, often a dizzying array of waterfowl diseases are encountered. Some conditions such as “angel wing” and predator trauma are important in captive populations, while infectious diseases like fowl cholera can cause massive die-offs in free-ranging birds…
Cottontail rabbits eat a wide variety of plant foods including grasses, sedges, sprouts, leaves, fruits, buds, and bark. During the summer months, cottontails primarily eat grasses, legumes, succulent annuals, weeds, as well as the occasional garden vegetable. The winter diet includes small grains, as well as twigs, bark, and buds of shrubs and trees. Favorite food items often include white and crimson clover, Bahia grass, and green succulent vegetation like alfalfa, wheat, barley, ryegrass, and winter peas.
A captive diet frequently consists of…
Psittacosis is an infectious disease of birds and people caused by Chlamydia psittaci. This client education handout discusses types of birds commonly associated with human psittacosis, persons at risk as well as details of psittacosis in humans and birds and measures to prevent disease.
Avian polyomavirus is one of the most important viral diseases seen in the companion parrot. Avian polyomavirus or APV can cause serious financial losses for aviaries and pet stores as well as considerable heartache for owners. Use this client handout to review susceptible species, clinical disease, and of course prevention.
Use this client education handout to answer the following questions: What is bird flu? What are the signs of disease in birds? What are the signs of avian influenza in humans? And why are some strains of bird flu cause for international concern?
Avian influenza or “bird flu” is a group of viral infections that occur naturally among birds. Some wild birds like waterfowl can carry influenza viruses in their intestines, but usually do not get sick from them. Infected birds shed flu virus in saliva, nasal secretions, and feces. Other birds may be easily infected when they come into direct contact with secretions from infected birds or…
This Association of Avian Veterinarians client education handout discusses avian bornavirus, which was experimentally confirmed to be the cause of proventricular dilatation disease or PDD in 2008. Avian bornavirus (ABV) infection is one of the most frustrating diseases encountered in avian medicine today. Since its initial recognition in the United States, ABV has been reported worldwide and infection poses a significant threat to the captive breeding of endangered psittacine (parrot) species. At least eight different psittacine bornaviruses have been identified in captive parrot populations worldwide, and researchers around the world are working on learning more about ABV infection.
The turtle ear is a simple structure that sits caudoventral to the eye covered by a large scale called the tympanic scute. As in many reptiles, the external ear is absent in chelonians. The tympanic membrane sits flush against the skin just underneath the tympanic scute. There is one ossicle, the columella, which crosses the large tympanic cavity to insert medially on the oval window of the cochlea. A narrow Eustachian tube connects the middle ear to the oropharynx.
Aural abscesses are well-encapsulated, caseous plugs that slowly develop until it fills the tympanic cavity. The cause of aural abscessation is not completely understood…
Just in time for Halloween, get fun facts on the much maligned, much misunderstood, but always interesting family Corvidae.
Avian polyomavirus infection is a disease in psittacine birds or parrots of greatest concern in chicks. This client handout briefly explains this important disease from signs and transmission to diagnostic testing and control or prevention.
Stomatitis, also known as “mouth rot”, ulcerative stomatitis, necrotic stomatitis, and/or periodontal disease is a common problem in snakes and lizards. Stomatitis is less common in chelonians and crocodilians, and often presents as a stomatitis-rhinitis complex in tortoises. This presenting problem article explores the pertinent anatomy involved, key points of urgent care, as well as tips for case management.
In My Experience: Living with a PDD Bird was authored by a diligent parrot owner and reviewed by her avian veterinarian. This commentary includes suggestions on diet as well as management tips that improved the quality of life, and possibly the life span, of this owner’s birds.
All mammals are considered to be susceptible to rabies although susceptibility appears to vary by species and viral variant. Rabies is exceedingly rare among small wild mammals and exotic pets. Among rodents in the United States, rabies is most commonly reported in…
World Lion Day is August 10 and LafeberVet celebrated on Twitter in 2014. Explore our collection of “Felidae-friendly” facts expanded for this post.
This case study is based on a report prepared by Veterinary Answers Consultant, Gwen Flinchum, DVM, Dipl. ABVP (Avian). A 5-year old female umbrella cockatoo is presented for lethargy, open-mouthed breathing, and difficulty gripping of 2-3 days duration.
Backyard or hobby flocks consist of meat and game birds; or ornamental or show birds. This review article, co-authored by poultry veterinarian, Teresa Morishita, offers tips on the basic clinical approach to backyard poultry as well as differential diagnosis lists for common clinical problems. Conditions commonly encountered in backyard chickens and turkeys often include endoparasites, like Eimeria spp., pasteurellosis or fowl cholera, mycoplasmosis, staphylococcosis, and colibacillosis. Diseases important for public health concerns, such as avian influenza and Newcastle disease, are also discussed.
Most species of mites are host-specific, however take special precautions, such as wearing exam gloves, to minimize the spread of potentially zoonotic pathogens. Humans that become infested with Sarcoptes scabei may develop wheals, vesicles, papules, and intense pruritus. Pet owners, especially children, may become infected with…
Neurologic diseases are relatively common in companion rabbits, and recognition of these conditions by the exotic animal clinician is very important. Encephalitozoonosis is endemic in the pet rabbit population worldwide, and is an important cause of neurologic disease in this species.
Donated by Dr. Eric Klaphake, this client education handout describes psittacine beak and feather disease (PBFD), an important disease of parrots. This handout discusses the cause of PBFD, bird species at greatest risk, transmission, as well as diagnosis or testing. Recommendations for removal of PBFD from a collection or aviary are also described.
Fungi are among the most common causes of infectious disease in captive birds, and fungal diseases can be challenging to diagnose, as well as treat. Because fungi are typically opportunistic, causing non-contagious disease in susceptible individuals, prevention and treatment require an understanding of etiology as well as predisposing factors.
The cornerstone of successful aviculture is healthy breeding birds. These birds should be kept in a stress-free environment and provided with optimal nutrition to meet their physiological needs. Sound management techniques are paramount to ensure the birds remain healthy. Proper environmental enrichment is also important for psychological and behavioral well-being.
The first step in antimicrobial drug selection is to make sure treatment is necessary. Companion birds often display nonspecific signs of illness, and the avian clinician should be reasonably sure that an infection is present before using antibiotics. The presence of a pathogen on culture or Gram stain does not necessarily mean treatment is warranted. Small numbers of potential pathogens are frequently isolated from the choana and cloaca of healthy birds.
After recognizing a dyspneic bird, the clinician’s initial response should be: Hands Off!! Dyspneic birds can die soon after presentation with the additional stress of restraint and handling. Therefore minimize handling and place the bird in an oxygen-rich cage. Humidify air and provide 40 to 50% oxygen. As in mammals, oxygen therapy is potentially toxic if given for prolonged periods at high levels.