OBJECTIVE To evaluate the efficacy and safety of gastroscopy and biopsy of the proventriculus and ventriculus in pigeons (Columba livia).
ANIMALS 15 adult pigeons.
PROCEDURES Each pigeon was anesthetized, and the upper gastrointestinal tract (from the cervical portion of the esophagus to the ventriculus) was endoscopically evaluated by use of a rigid endoscope inserted orally. Saline (0.9% NaCl) solution was orally infused to achieve lumen dilation and visibility. Two mucosal biopsy specimens were collected from each of the proventriculus and ventriculus, histologically evaluated, and graded for crush artifacts and depth. Pigeons were monitored for adverse effects for 3 to 6 days after the procedure, after which they were euthanized for necropsy.
RESULTS Gastroscopy via the oral approach provided excellent visibility of the lumen and mucosal surfaces of the proventriculus and cranial portion of the ventriculus and was safe provided that appropriate precautions were taken. Two intraoperative deaths occurred at the beginning of the study; following procedure refinement, no additional deaths occurred. No major adverse effects of the procedure were detected in the remaining 13 pigeons during the postoperative monitoring period or at necropsy. Diagnostic quality of proventriculus specimens was adequate for 10 of 13 pigeons. Eight of 13 ventriculus specimens were of inadequate quality, and only 3 were of adequate quality.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Gastroscopy was useful for evaluating the lumen and mucosal surface of the proventriculus and ventriculus in pigeons, and biopsy of those organs was safely performed with the appropriate technique. Further evaluation of these techniques is needed in birds with clinical disease and birds of other species.