Pituitary-dependent hyperadrenocorticism in a cockatoo

Simon R. Starkey Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.

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 BVSc, PhD
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James K. Morrisey Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.

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 DVM, DABVP
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Jennifer E. Stewart Department of Biomedical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.

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Elizabeth L. Buckles Department of Biomedical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.

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 DVM, PhD, DACVP

Abstract

Case Description—A 13-year-old female intact Moluccan cockatoo (Cacatua moluccensis) was evaluated because of coelomic distention, presumed to be secondary to an abdominal hernia. The patient also had a history of rapid weight gain and polyuria and polydipsia.

Clinical Findings—Ultrasonography was used to confirm the existence of a pseudohernia that appeared to contain the small intestines, pancreas, and reproductive tract. Results of plasma biochemical analysis revealed hyperglycemia, hypophosphatemia, and high nonfasting bile acid concentrations and aspartate aminotransferase activity. A CBC revealed a relative heterophilia with a concomitant lymphopenia and mild monocytosis. Histologic evaluation of a liver biopsy specimen indicated chronic hepatic lipidosis. Despite a strong clinical suspicion of hyperadrenocorticism, ACTH stimulation test results were equivocal.

Treatment and Outcome—The pseudohernia was strengthened with a prolene mesh. Despite ongoing medical and surgical care, the patient developed complications associated with the herniorrhaphy and was euthanatized. The clinical suspicion of hyperadrenocorticism was confirmed on the basis of histologic evaluation of the pituitary gland by use of special stains.

Clinical Relevance—To our knowledge, pituitary-dependent hyperadrenocorticism has not been previously confirmed in Psittaciformes. The condition should be considered in birds with clinical signs consistent with those observed in mammals. For the cockatoo of this report, ACTH stimulation test results were equivocal and additional diagnostic tests should be developed for avian patients.

Abstract

Case Description—A 13-year-old female intact Moluccan cockatoo (Cacatua moluccensis) was evaluated because of coelomic distention, presumed to be secondary to an abdominal hernia. The patient also had a history of rapid weight gain and polyuria and polydipsia.

Clinical Findings—Ultrasonography was used to confirm the existence of a pseudohernia that appeared to contain the small intestines, pancreas, and reproductive tract. Results of plasma biochemical analysis revealed hyperglycemia, hypophosphatemia, and high nonfasting bile acid concentrations and aspartate aminotransferase activity. A CBC revealed a relative heterophilia with a concomitant lymphopenia and mild monocytosis. Histologic evaluation of a liver biopsy specimen indicated chronic hepatic lipidosis. Despite a strong clinical suspicion of hyperadrenocorticism, ACTH stimulation test results were equivocal.

Treatment and Outcome—The pseudohernia was strengthened with a prolene mesh. Despite ongoing medical and surgical care, the patient developed complications associated with the herniorrhaphy and was euthanatized. The clinical suspicion of hyperadrenocorticism was confirmed on the basis of histologic evaluation of the pituitary gland by use of special stains.

Clinical Relevance—To our knowledge, pituitary-dependent hyperadrenocorticism has not been previously confirmed in Psittaciformes. The condition should be considered in birds with clinical signs consistent with those observed in mammals. For the cockatoo of this report, ACTH stimulation test results were equivocal and additional diagnostic tests should be developed for avian patients.

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