Procedures—For each bird, anesthesia was induced and maintained by use of isoflurane. A pediatric, multiplane transesophageal ultrasound probe was passed into the esophagus and adjusted to the level of the heart for echocardiography. Probe positions were recorded via fluoroscopy, and associated imaging planes were described.
Results—TEE was performed successfully in all birds except the pelicans, 1 Hispaniolan Amazon parrot, and the red-fronted macaws. Five imaging planes of the heart were consistently viewed from 3 positions of the probe (identified as caudal, middle, and cranial positions relative to the cardiac silhouette). M-mode echocardiography of the left ventricle and the aortic root was performed. Color flow and spectral Doppler ultrasonographic images of in- and outflow regions were obtained. One Hispaniolan Amazon parrot died as a result of esophageal perforation.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—TEE examination of birds was feasible and provided a larger number of imaging planes with better resolution and details than those typically achieved via a transcoelomic approach. However, TEE should be performed with caution in psittacines.
Objective—To evaluate physical methods for inducing death during the slaughter of American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis).
Animals—24 captive hatched-and-reared American alligators.
Procedures—Baseline electroencephalograms (EEGs) were obtained for awake and anesthetized alligators. Corneal reflex, spontaneous blinking, and EEGs were evaluated after severance of the spinal cord, severance of the spinal cord followed by pithing of the brain, application of a penetrating captive bolt, or application of a nonpenetrating captive bolt (6 alligators/group).
Results—Overall, alligators subjected to spinal cord severance alone differed from those subjected to the other techniques. Spinal cord severance alone resulted in postprocedure EEG power values greater than those in anesthetized alligators, whereas the postprocedure EEG power values were isoelectric for the other 3 techniques. Corneal reflex and spontaneous blinking were absent in all alligators immediately after application of a penetrating or nonpenetrating captive bolt. One of 6 alligators had a corneal reflex up to 1 minute after pithing, but all others within that group had immediate cessation of reflexes after pithing. Mean time to loss of spontaneous blinking and corneal reflex for alligators subjected to spinal cord severance alone was 18 minutes (range, 2 to 37 minutes) and 54 minutes (range, 34 to 99 minutes), respectively.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Spinal cord severance followed by pithing of the brain and application of a penetrating or nonpenetrating captive bolt appeared to be humane and effective techniques for inducing death in American alligators, whereas spinal cord severance alone was not found to be an appropriate method.
Objective—To assess the agreement and reliability of cardiac measurements obtained with 3 echocardiographic techniques in anesthetized red-tailed hawks (Buteo jamaicensis).
Animals—10 red-tailed hawks.
Procedures—Transcoelomic, contrast transcoelomic, and transesophageal echocardiographic evaluations of the hawks were performed, and cineloops of imaging planes were recorded. Three observers performed echocardiographic measurements of cardiac variables 3 times on 3 days. The order in which hawks were assessed and echocardiographic techniques were used was randomized. Results were analyzed with linear mixed modeling, agreement was assessed with intraclass correlation coefficients, and variation was estimated with coefficients of variation.
Results—Significant differences were evident among the 3 echocardiographic methods for most measurements, and the agreement among findings was generally low. Interobserver agreement was generally low to medium. Intraobserver agreement was generally medium to high. Overall, better agreement was achieved for the left ventricular measurements and for the transesophageal approach than for other measurements and techniques.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Echocardiographic measurements in hawks were not reliable, except when the left ventricle was measured by the same observer. Furthermore, cardiac morphometric measurements may not be clinically important. When measurements are required, one needs to consider that follow-up measurements should be performed by the same echocardiographer and should show at least a 20% difference from initial measurements to be confident that any difference is genuine.
Procedures—16-slice CT scanning was used to measure the apparent diameter of the ascending aorta, abdominal aorta, pulmonary arteries, and brachiocephalic trunk. Before scanning, all birds underwent ECG and echocardiographic assessment and were considered free of detectable cardiovascular diseases. Each bird was anesthetized, and a precontrast helical CT scan was performed. Peak aortic enhancement was established with a test bolus technique via dynamic axial CT scan over a predetermined single slice. An additional bolus of contrast medium was then injected, and a helical CT-angiography scan was performed immediately afterward. Arterial diameter measurements were obtained by 2 observers via various windows before and after injection, and intra- and interobserver agreement was assessed.
Results—Reference limits were determined for arterial diameter measurements before and after contrast medium administration in pulmonary, mediastinal, and manual angiography windows. Ratios of vertebral body diameter to keel length were also calculated. Intraobserver agreement was high (concordance correlation coefficients ≥ 0.95); interobserver agreement was medium to high (intraclass correlation coefficients ≥ 0.65).
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—CT-angiography was safe and is of potential diagnostic value in parrots. We recommend performing the angiography immediately after IV injection of 3 mL of iohexol/kg. Arterial diameter measurements at the described locations were reliable.
To determine the dose of alfaxalone for IM administration combined with dexmedetomidine and hydromorphone that would allow endoscopic-guided orotracheal intubation in rabbits without causing a decrease in respiratory rate or apnea.
15 sexually intact (9 females and 6 males) healthy Miniature Lop rabbits weighing a mean ± SD of 2.3 ± 0.3 kg and ranging in age from 4 to 9 months.
In a randomized, controlled clinical trial, rabbits received 0.1 mg of hydro-morphone/kg and 0.005 mg of dexmedetomidine/kg, plus alfaxalone at either 2 mg/kg (5 rabbits), 5 mg/kg (5 rabbits), or 7 mg/kg (5 rabbits). Drugs were mixed in a single syringe and administered IM. Semiquantitative rating scales were used to evaluate quality of anesthesia and intubation. Orotracheal intubation was attempted with endoscopy and confirmed by capnography.
The number of successful intubations was 0, 3, and 4 in rabbits receiving 2, 5, and 7 mg of alfaxalone/kg, respectively. Median (range) anesthesia quality scores (scale, 0 to 12; 12 = deepest anesthesia) were 3 (2 to 5), 6 (5 to 6), and 6 (4 to 9) for rabbits receiving 2, 5, and 7 mg of alfaxalone/kg, respectively. The median (range) intubation quality scores (scale, 0 to 3 [ie, intubation not possible to easiest intubation]) were 0 (0 to 0), 2 (0 to 3), and 2 (0 to 3) for rabbits receiving 2, 5, and 7 mg of alfaxalone/kg, respectively. None of the rabbits experienced a decrease in respiratory rate or apnea.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE
Increasing doses of alfaxalone combined with hydromorphone and dexmedetomidine increased the success rate of endoscopic-guided orotracheal intubation. Increasing the dose of alfaxalone had no effect on respiratory rate.
Objective—To assess the effects of dopamine and dobutamine on the blood pressure of isoflurane-anesthetized Hispaniolan Amazon parrots (Amazona ventralis).
Animals—8 Hispaniolan Amazon parrots.
Procedures—A randomized crossover study was conducted. Each bird was anesthetized (anesthesia maintained by administration of 2.5% isoflurane in oxygen) and received 3 doses of each drug during a treatment period of 20 min/dose. Treatments were constant rate infusions (CRIs) of dobutamine (5, 10, and 15 μg/kg/min) and dopamine (5, 7, and 10 μg/kg/min). Direct systolic, diastolic, and mean arterial pressure measurements, heart rate, esophageal temperature, and end-tidal partial pressure of CO2 were recorded throughout the treatment periods.
Results—Mean ± SD of the systolic, mean, and diastolic arterial blood pressures at time 0 (initiation of a CRI) were 132.9 ± 22.1 mm Hg, 116.9 ± 20.5 mm Hg, and 101.9 ± 22.0 mm Hg, respectively. Dopamine resulted in significantly higher values than did dobutamine for the measured variables, except for end-tidal partial pressure of CO2. Post hoc multiple comparisons revealed that the changes in arterial blood pressure were significantly different 4 to 7 minutes after initiation of a CRI. Overall, dopamine at rates of 7 and 10 μg/kg/min and dobutamine at a rate of 15 μg/kg/min caused the greatest increases in arterial blood pressure.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Dobutamine CRI at 5, 10, and 15 μg/kg/min and dopamine CRI at 5, 7, and 10 μg/kg/min may be useful in correcting severe hypotension in Hispaniolan Amazon parrots caused by anesthesia maintained with 2.5% isoflurane.
Objective—To estimate the prevalence of clinically relevant atherosclerotic lesions in birds and identify epidemiological variables and illness types associated with development of atherosclerosis.
Design—Retrospective case-control study.
Sample—Records of 7683 psittacine birds, including 525 with advanced atherosclerosis.
Procedures—5 pathology centers provided databases and access to histopathology slides. Age and sex were collected for all birds of the Amazona, Ara, Cacatua, Nymphicus, and Psittacus genera. Databases were searched for atherosclerosis cases, and slides were reviewed for the presence of type IV through VI atherosclerotic lesions. Results were used to build several multiple logistic models to define the association between advanced atherosclerosis and age, sex, genus, illness type, and specific lesions. Prevalence was reported as a function of age, sex, and genus.
Results—In the first model including 7683 birds, age, female sex, and the genera Psittacus, Amazona, and Nymphicus were significantly associated with clinically relevant atherosclerosis detected via necropsy. Subsequent models of 1,050 cases revealed further associations with reproductive disease, hepatic disease, and myocardial fibrosis, controlling for age, sex, and genus.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Age, female sex, and 3 genera appeared to be positively associated with the presence of advanced atherosclerotic lesions in psittacine birds. This information may be useful in clinical assessment of the cardiovascular system and patient management. Reproductive diseases were the only potentially modifiable risk factor identified and could be a target for prevention in captive psittacine birds.
CASE DESCRIPTION An adult sexually intact female Harris hawk (Parabuteo unicinctus) housed at a wildlife hospital was evaluated because of acute collapse during an educational exhibition.
CLINICAL FINDINGS Physical examination and hematologic analysis revealed no abnormalities; radiography revealed findings consistent with a previous tibiotarsal fracture. Coelioscopy with histologic examination and fungal culture of lung and air sac samples revealed anthracosis but no fungal infection. The hawk was discharged and temporarily removed from the education program; 1 month later, upon reintroduction into the program, it collapsed again. Physical examination and hematologic findings were similar to those after the first episode. Transcoelomic and transesophageal echocardiography and CT angiocardiography findings were consistent with cardiomyopathy.
TREATMENT AND OUTCOME Initial cardiac treatment included furosemide (0.5 mg/kg [0.23 mg/lb], PO, q 24 h) and pimobendan (10 mg/kg [4.5 mg/lb], PO, q 12 h). After 10 days of treatment, peak and trough plasma concentrations of pimobendan were measured at 25, 196 and 715.97 ng/mL, respectively; the dosage was decreased to 0.25 mg/kg (0.11 mg/lb), PO, every 12 hours. No overt signs of toxicosis were detected. A sample was collected to reevaluate plasma pimobendan concentration after 30 days of treatment; results were not obtained prior to the patient's death but revealed a peak concentration of 16.8 ng/mL, with an undetectable trough concentration. The hawk was found dead 6 months after initial evaluation. Necropsy revealed cardiomegaly, but histologic examination did not reveal an inciting cause of cardiac dysfunction.
CLINICAL RELEVANCE Cardiac disease in raptors may be underreported. Transcoelomic and transesophageal echocardiography and CT angiography provided useful information for the diagnosis of cardiac disease in the hawk of this report.