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Infection with Mycobacterium simiae complex in four captive Micronesian kingfishers

Erika K. Travis DVM1,2, Randall E. Junge DVM, DACZM3, and Scott P. Terrell DVM, DACVP4
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  • 1 Saint Louis Zoo, 1 Government Dr, St Louis, MO 63110
  • | 2 College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211
  • | 3 Saint Louis Zoo, 1 Government Dr, St Louis, MO 63110
  • | 4 Disney's Animal Kingdom, 1200 N Savannah Cir, Bay Lake, FL 32830

Abstract

Case Description—4 captive adult Micronesian kingfishers (Halcyon cinnamomina cinnamomina) at 3 zoologic institutions were examined routinely or because of dyspnea or lethargy.

Clinical Findings—All birds had marked hepatomegaly. Two birds had dyspnea caused by compression of air sacs by the enlarged liver, and 1 bird had generalized weakness and lethargy. Three birds had distended coelomic cavities, and 3 birds were thin or had lost weight. There were no consistent abnormalities in blood analytes. Results of most ancillary diagnostic tests such as acid-fast staining of cloacal or fecal swab specimens and culture of feces for acid-fast bacteria were negative. Results of examination of hepatic biopsy speci-mens in 2 of 4 birds were suggestive of mycobacteriosis.

Treatment and Outcome—3 birds died or were euthanized soon after diagnosis. One kingfisher was isolated and monitored for 4 months without treatment and died during anesthesia for disease monitoring. Postmortem histologic examination revealed histiocytic hepatitis and acid-fast bacteria in all 4 birds. Bacteriologic culture of liver specimens yielded Mycobacterium simiae complex in all 4 birds.

Clinical Relevance—Infection with M simiae complex should be considered in ill Micronesian kingfishers, and further monitoring is warranted to determine whether this is an emerging pathogen in this species.

Contributor Notes

Dr. Travis' present address is Utah's Hogle Zoo, 2600 E Sunnyside Ave, Salt Lake City, UT 84108

The authors thank Dr. Jennifer Langan, Mark Warneke, Dr. Mike Kinsel, and Dr. Mary Duncan for technical assistance.

Address correspondence to Dr. Travis.