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Objective

To determine plasma concentrations of steroid hormones in ferrets with hyperadrenocorticism associated with adrenocortical neoplasia or nodular hyperplasia of the adrenal gland, the effect of surgical removal of the affected adrenal gland on concentrations of these hormones, and whether any hormone concentrations could be used as a marker for the disease.

Design

Prospective case series.

Animals

32 ferrets with hyperadrenocorticism associated with adrenocortical neoplasia or nodular hyperplasia of the adrenal gland.

Procedure

blood sample was obtained from each ferret before adrenalectomy. In 26 of the 32 ferrets, a second blood sample was collected 24 to 48 hours after adrenalectomy. Plasma concentrations of 7 hormones were measured (cortisol, estradiol, testosterone, progesterone, 17-hydroxyprogesterone, androstenedione, and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate).

Results

Median plasma concentrations of 17-hydroxyprogesterone, androstenedione, and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate were significantly higher in ferrets with adrenal gland disease, compared with concentrations in clinically normal ferrets. After adrenalectomy, median concentrations of estradiol, 17-hydroxyprogesterone, and androstenedione decreased significantly. Of 23 ferrets in which concentrations of estradiol, 17-hydroxyprogesterone, and androstenedione all were measured, 22 (96%) had high concentrations of at least 1 of these 3 hormones, but only 5 (22%) ferrets had high concentrations of all 3 hormones.

Clinical Implications

The condition that develops in ferrets with adrenal gland disease apparently is caused by excessive secretion of 1 or more steroids other than cortisol. Because concentration of a particular hormone was not high in all ferrets, we recommend determining plasma concentrations of several sex steroids, including androstenedione, 17-hydroxyprogesterone, and estradiol. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1996;209:1097-1102)

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To determine the reliability of plasma electrophoresis (EPH) in psittacine birds.

Animals—93 psittacine birds.

Procedure—Jugular venipuncture was performed on 93 awake psittacine birds. The plasma was centrifuged, separated, aliquoted into duplicate samples, frozen, and sent to 2 commercial laboratories that routinely perform avian EPH. Samples from 51 birds were sent to laboratory A, and samples from 42 birds were sent to laboratory B. The reliability of EPH results within each laboratory was assessed, but not between laboratories. To determine the reliability (agreement between duplicate samples) of total protein, albumin, prealbumin, α1-, α2-, β-, and γ-globulin concentrations, the intraclass correlation coefficient ( ri ) was calculated.

Results—Both laboratories had excellent agreement between samples for measurement of total protein concentration and only good agreement for albumin concentration. Except for the prealbumin concentration measured at laboratory B, both laboratories had poor agreement for all other values of the EPH.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—These data indicate that plasma EPH for measuring prealbumin, α1-, α2-, β-, and γ-globulin concentrations may not be a reliable tool for assessing avian health. Small amounts of these proteins in birds plus human variation in reading the EPH curves may lead to variable results. Avian veterinarians should cautiously interpret results from plasma EPH assays for these protein fractions. (Am J Vet Res 2005;66:375–378)

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

Objective—To determine agreement for total protein (TP) and albumin concentrations measured by a point-of-care biochemical analyzer in heparinized whole blood and plasma samples obtained from psittacines and compare results with those from a commercial laboratory.

Sample Population—Hematologic samples from 92 healthy birds.

Procedures—Duplicate samples of heparinized whole blood and plasma were obtained. A point-of-care biochemical analyzer was used to determine TP and albumin concentrations. To assess precision, intraclass correlation coefficient (r i) and Bland-Altman measures of agreement were used. These results were compared by use of Bland-Altman plots with those obtained from a commercial laboratory that used a biuret method for TP concentration and electrophoresis for albumin concentration.

Results—For the analyzer, there was excellent agreement (r i = 0.91) between heparinized whole blood and plasma samples for TP and albumin concentrations. Relative error was 0.9% for TP and 0.7% for albumin. Analyzer results correlated well with commercial laboratory results, with a downward bias of 0.6 for TP and 0.3 for albumin.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The analyzer had excellent precision for analysis of heparinized whole blood or plasma samples for TP or albumin concentrations; analyzer values had good agreement with those from a commercial laboratory. The analyzer could be a valid method to measure plasma TP concentrations and provide point-of-care testing in apparently healthy parrots. Biochemical analyzer results for plasma albumin concentration were not validated by results from a commercial laboratory, so conclusions cannot be drawn regarding use of the analyzer in measurement of albumin concentrations in psittacines.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To assess reproducibility of an in-house tabletop biochemical analyzer for measurement of plasma biochemical analytes and establish reference intervals in adult koi.

Design—Prospective study.

Animals—71 healthy adult koi.

Procedures—Plasma was analyzed for concentrations or activities of albumin, alkaline phosphatase, alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, bile acids, BUN, calcium, cholesterol, creatine kinase, γ-glutamyltransferase, globulin, glucose, K, Na, P, total bilirubin, total protein, and uric acid. Duplicate samples were evaluated by use of the intraclass correlation coefficient to determine reproducibility. To assess the magnitude of differences between replicate samples, the absolute mean difference, SD, and minimum and maximum values were calculated for each analyte. Median values and reference intervals were calculated.

Results—Intraclass correlation coefficient values were excellent for all analytes except alanine aminotransferase (good), Na (poor), γ-glutamyltransferase (poor), and P (poor). Reference intervals were established.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The in-house tabletop biochemical analyzer had good precision for measuring most plasma biochemical analytes. Further research and comparison with other reference procedures are needed before reference intervals and precision can be established for globulin, Na, P, K, and albumin. Aquatic veterinarians may be able to use the reference intervals for adult koi as an important diagnostic tool or as part of a fish wellness program, as commonly done in other domestic species.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Case Description—A 2-year-old female Solomon Island eclectus parrot (Eclectus roratus) was evaluated by a veterinarian because of a 4-day history of progressive lethargy, weakness, poor appetite, and inactivity. The bird was referred to a veterinary teaching hospital for further examination.

Clinical Findings—Clinicopathologic analyses revealed that the parrot had marked regenerative anemia, autoagglutination, and biliverdinuria. Small, rounded RBCs (thought to be spherocytes) were detected in blood smears. The abnormal findings met the diagnostic criteria for dogs with primary immune-mediated hemolytic anemia. However, analyses of blood samples for lead and zinc concentrations and plasma bile acids concentrations; the use of PCR assays for Chlamydophila psittaci, psittacine circovirus 1 (causative agent of beak and feather disease), and polyomavirus; and microbial culture and Gram staining of feces did not reveal a cause for the hemolytic anemia.

Treatment and Outcome—Although administration of immunosuppressive doses of cyclosporine was initiated, there was a rapid progression of disease, which lead to death of the parrot before this treatment could be continued long-term. Lack of an identifiable underlying disease (confirmed by complete histologic examinations at necropsy) supported the diagnosis of primary immune-mediated hemolytic anemia.

Clinical Relevance—Primary immune-mediated hemolytic anemia has not been widely reported in psittacine birds. A comprehensive evaluation and complete histologic examination of tissues to rule out underlying disease processes are required to definitively establish a diagnosis of primary immune-mediated hemolytic anemia in parrots. Primary immune-me-diated hemolytic anemia should be considered as a differential diagnosis for regenerative anemia in a parrot.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

SUMMARY

Plasma cortisol and corticosterone responses of 8 clinically normal adult ferrets to synthetic acth (cosyntropin) were evaluated. Cosyntropin was administered iv at 4 dosages (0.5, 1.0, 5.0, and 10 μg/ kg of body weight) at 2- to 4-week intervals, with blood samples collected 60 and 120 minutes after injection. After completion of the studies, an additional acth stimulation test was performed by administering cosyntropin (1.0 μg/kg) im. The baseline plasma cortisol concentrations from all studies ranged from 25.9 to 235 nmol/L (mean ± sem = 73.8 ± 7.0 nmol/L), and plasma corticosterone values ranged from 1.7 to 47 nmol/L (mean ± sem = 8.3 ± 1.1 nmol/L). After iv administration of cosyntropin, plasma concentrations of cortisol and corticosterone increased significantly (P ≤ 0.05) and reached peak values at 60 minutes; however, there were no significant differences between plasma cortisol or corticosterone responses to the 4 dosages of cosyntropin. Intramuscular administration of 1.0 μg of cosyntropin/kg induced increases in plasma cortisol and corticosterone concentrations that were similar to the responses induced by iv administration of cosyntropin. The mean molar ratio of cortisol to corticosterone, calculated from the resting plasma concentrations, was approximately 9:1, whereas the acth-stimulated cortisol to corticosterone ratio was approximately 4:1. Results of this study indicated that administration of cosyntropin to clinically normal ferrets, at dosages ranging from 0.5 to 10 μg/kg, increased plasma concentrations of cortisol and corticosterone. Although cosyntropin stimulates the adrenocortical secretion of cortisol and corticosterone, cortisol appears to be the predominate circulating glucocorticoid in ferrets.

Free access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

Objective—To ascertain whether Malassezia organisms can be detected via cytologic examination and fungal culture of samples from the skin surface of psittacine birds and determine whether the number of those organisms differs between unaffected psittacines and those that have chronic feather-destructive behavior or differs by body region.

Design—Prospective study.

Animals—50 unaffected psittacines and 53 psittacines that had feather-destructive behavior.

Procedure—Samples were collected by use of acetate tape strips from the skin of the head, neck, proventer, propatagium, inguinal region, and preen gland area of each bird; 0.5-cm2 sample areas were examined microscopically for yeast, and samples were also incubated on Sabouraud dextrose agar. Polymerase chain reaction assays specific for Malassezia spp, saprophytic fungi, and Candida albicans were performed on DNA prepared from cultured colonies; nested PCR evaluation for Malassezia pachydermatis was then performed.

Results—Microscopically, 63 of 618 (10%) tape-strip samples contained yeast. Thirty cultured colonies were assessed via PCR assays, and all yielded negative results for Malassezia spp; C albicans was identified in 2 colony samples. The numbers of yeast identified microscopically in psittacines with feather-destructive behavior and in unaffected birds did not differ significantly, and numbers did not differ by body region.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Yeast were identified infrequently via cytologic examination of samples from the skin surface of unaffected psittacine birds or those that had chronic feather-destructive behavior. If yeast are identified on the skin of birds with feather-destructive behaviors, fungal culture of skin samples should be performed to identify the organism.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To survey 2 populations of psittacines to characterize Staphylococcus spp isolated from commensal cutaneous microflora.

Design—Prospective cross-sectional study.

Animals—107 psittacine birds from a sanctuary and 73 psittacine birds in private households or a pet store.

Procedures—Gram-positive, catalase-positive cocci isolated from mucosal and seborrheic sites were speciated, and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis was performed on coagulase-positive isolates. A bird was classified as having positive results when at least 1 sample site yielded positive results for at least 1 staphylococcal species.

Results—89 of 180 (49.4%) birds had positive results for staphylococci at the carriage sites sampled. Privately owned birds were twice as likely to have positive results for staphylococci as were sanctuary birds (71% vs 35%). Coagulase-positive staphylococci were significantly more common in the sanctuary birds (47% vs 1%). Staphylococcus intermedius was significantly more common in the sanctuary birds (46% vs 2%). Staphylococcus hominis subsp hominis and Staphylococcus epidermidis, coagulase-negative staphylococci associated with humans, were significantly more common in pet birds. Cockatoos were twice as likely to have positive results for staphylococci as were other genera.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that staphylococcal colonization in captive psittacines was less common than in other species studied. Staphylococci isolated from a pet psittacine may reflect that of the humans and other animals with which the bird lives in close proximity; however, further studies are needed to evaluate the effects exposure to humans may have on the microflora of these birds.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association