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Abstract

OBJECTIVE

The avian beak is a complex organ containing bone, neurovascular tissue, and keratinized covering (rhamphotheca). Nerve-rich papillae extend through bone into rhamphotheca providing sensory input from the beak tip. Beak trimming is a common procedure in avian species and is used for corrective, cosmetic, and behavioral modification purposes. Yet, practitioners are not well versed in complete beak anatomy, and therefore, beak trimming often disregards neurovasculature, injuring the patient and hampering recovery. Here, using comprehensive anatomical description, we aim to provide recommendations on how to safely perform beak trimming without damaging underlying sensory papillae.

ANIMALS

Here, we evaluated beaks of 2 deceased grey parrots (Psittacus erithacus).

PROCEDURES

In one, we used a novel stain and microcomputed tomography to visualize papillae in the upper and lower beaks. In a second, we hand isolated the upper and lower beak dermal papillae and used high-resolution photography plus traditional paraffin histology.

RESULTS

Papillae and their nerves were easily identified in these 2- and 3-dimensional approaches. This allowed us to determine the approximate lengths of papillae within the upper and lower beak.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Based on these findings, the authors recommend lateral radiographs of the bird’s head and beak to identify the location of the underlying bone relative to the overlying rhamphotheca before performing beak trims. Specifically in grey parrots, the authors recommend the upper and lower beak should not be trimmed closer than 8 to 10 mm from the underlying bone. Further work is needed to support these recommendations and provide guidelines for other species.

Open access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to assess the efficacy and safety of a third-generation lentivirus-based vector encoding the feline erythropoietin (EPO) (feEPO) gene in vitro and in rodent models in vivo. This vector incorporates a genetic mechanism to facilitate the termination of the therapeutic effect in the event of supraphysiologic polycythemia, the herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase (HSV-TK) “suicide gene.”

ANIMALS

CFRK cells and replication-defective lentiviral vectors encoding feEPO were used for in vitro experiments. Eight Fischer rats were enrolled in the pilot in vivo study, 24 EPO-deficient mice were used in the initial mouse study, and 15 EPO-deficient mice were enrolled in the final mouse study.

METHODS

Efficacy of a third-generation lentivirus encoding feEPO was determined in vitro using western blot assays. Subsequently, in a series of rodent experiments, animals were administered the viral vector in progressively increasing inoculation doses with serial measurements of blood packed cell volume (PCV) over time.

RESULTS

We documented production of feEPO protein in transduced CRFK cells with subsequent cessation of production when treated with the HSV-TK substrate ganciclovir. In vivo, we demonstrated variably persistent elevated PCV values in treated rats and mice with eventual return to baseline values over time.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE

These results provide justification for a lentiviral gene therapy approach to the treatment of nonregenerative anemia associated with chronic renal disease in cats.

Open access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research