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A 15-year-old 0.412-kg (0.906-lb) sexually intact male eclectus parrot (Eclectus roratus) was evaluated because its owners found it lethargic and dyspneic at the bottom of its cage.


The parrot was thin and had generalized muscle wasting, diffuse feather loss, pale mucous membranes, and melena. The coelomic cavity was distended and soft on palpation, with coelomic effusion suspected. Results of a CBC indicated leukocytosis with left shift heterophilia, including toxic heterophils, lymphopenia, and anemia. Plasma biochemical analyses revealed severe hyperamylasemia.


Radiography revealed no evidence of a metallic foreign body but severe loss of coelomic detail, suggestive of a coelomic mass, coelomic effusion with coelomitis, or both. Ultrasonography and CT revealed severe accumulation of coelomic fluid; a large, heterogeneous, irregularly marginated, and moderately vascularized mass in the caudal aspect of the coelomic cavity; and multiple hepatic, coelomic, and pulmonary nodules. On the basis of a poor prognosis, the parrot was euthanized. Necropsy results confirmed exocrine pancreatic adenocarcinoma, with disseminated metastases in the liver, gastrointestinal tract, coelomic cavity, and lungs.


In birds, pancreatic adenocarcinoma is rarely reported but should be considered a differential diagnosis for hyperamylasemia, coelomic mass, coelomic effusion, or abnormal gastrointestinal signs, alone or in combination. Ultrasonography and CT can be useful in further evaluating such patients and should be considered in the diagnostic plan.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To determine whether the presence of Chlamydophila psittaci antigen, plasma cholesterol concentration, diet, sex, species, and age are risk factors for the development of atherosclerosis in pet psittacine birds.

Design—Retrospective case-control study.

Animals—31 psittacine birds with atherosclerosis (study birds) and 31 psittacine birds without atherosclerosis (control birds).

Procedures—Necropsy reports were reviewed, birds with a histopathologic diagnosis of atherosclerosis were identified, and available medical records were reviewed. Signalment, history, clinicopathologic findings, and other relevant data were recorded and evaluated. Control birds did not have atherosclerosis and were chosen by both convenience sampling and population demographics. Histologic sections of great vessels from all birds (study and control birds) were reviewed and then submitted for immunohistochemical staining for the presence of C psittaci antigen.

Results—Result of immunohistochemical staining for C psittaci antigen in blood vessels was significantly associated with atherosclerosis. After adjusting for age, species origin, and type of illness, the odds of atherosclerosis was 7 times as high for birds with positive immunohistochemical staining for C psittaci antigen, compared with that of birds with negative immunohistochemical staining. Study birds and control birds differed significantly only with respect to plasma cholesterol concentrations. The median plasma cholesterol concentration of study birds (421 mg/dL) was significantly higher than that of control birds (223 mg/dL).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Infection with C psittaci and a high plasma cholesterol concentration may be risk factors for developing atherosclerosis in pet psittacine birds.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


To evaluate clinical, laboratory, radiographic, ultrasonographic, surgical, and histologic findings in ferrets with insulinoma and to determine their long-term outcome.


Retrospective study.


57 ferrets with a histopathologic diagnosis of pancreatic islet cell tumor.


Medical records of ferrets with pancreatic islet cell tumors were reviewed.


Lethargy, weakness, and collapse were the most common clinical signs. All ferrets had hypoglycemia, and hyperinsulinemia was documented in 39 of 47 (83%) ferrets. Ultrasonographic examination of the abdomen revealed pancreatic nodules in 5 of 23 ferrets. Surgical treatment was performed in 50 ferrets, 3 were treated by medical management alone, and 4 did not have treatment. At the time of surgery, 1 pancreatic nodule was found in 13 (26%) ferrets and multiple nodules were found in 37 (74%) ferrets. Pancreatic carcinoma alone was found in 34 ferrets, whereas a combination of carcinoma and either hyperplasia or adenoma was found in 23 ferrets; 4 ferrets had metastasis to regional lymph nodes or liver. In 26 (53%) ferrets, hypoglycemia persisted after surgery, necessitating medical treatment with prednisone, diazoxide, or both. Sixteen (33%) ferrets had redevelopment of hypoglycemia at 1 to 23.5 months (median, 10.6 months) after surgery. Only 7 of the 50 (14%) ferrets remained euglycemic after surgery.

Clinical Implications—

In ferrets, surgical removal of insulin-secreting pancreatic islet cell tumors is recommended as definitive treatment; however, multiple pancreatic nodules are common, making complete excision of all tumor tissue difficult. Persistent hypoglycemia after surgical treatment indicates that lifelong medical management with prednisone or diazoxide or both may be necessary in many ferrets. Finally, because the insulin-secreting tumors are malignant, long-term cure and survival are not likely. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1996;209:1741–1745)

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


Adrenocortical adenoma, nodular hyperplasia, or carcinoma was diagnosed in 50 ferrets. Thirty-five (70%) ferrets were female and 15 (30%) were male. The mean age at which clinical signs were first noticed was 3.4 years (range, 1 to 7 years). Clinical signs included large vulva (n = 31; 89% of females), alopecia (n = 43; 86%), pruritus (n = 20; 40%), and increased consumption of water and increased urine output (n = 4; 8%). A mass was palpated at the cranial pole of the kidney during physical examination of 17 (34%) ferrets. Ultrasonography, performed on 39 of 50 ferrets, revealed a unilateral adrenal gland mass in 19 (49%). Four ferrets were anemic, and 2 ferrets were thrombocytopenic. Baseline plasma concentrations of cortisol and corticosterone were within or below the reference range in all 17 ferrets tested, whereas baseline plasma estradiol concentrations were high in 4 of the 11 ferrets (36%) tested. After adrenocorticotropic hormone (acth) administration, only 1 ferret had a slightly exaggerated response on the basis of plasma cortisol concentrations, and all 17 had normal responses on the basis of plasma corticosterone concentrations. There was little or no increase in plasma estradiol concentrations after acth administration. Of the 50 ferrets, 39 were treated by adrenalectomy. Unilateral adrenalectomy was performed in 34 ferrets in which 1 adrenal gland was large, whereas subtotal bilateral adrenalectomy was performed in 5 ferrets with bilateral adrenal disease. Five ferrets died in the immediate postoperative period, and follow-up information was available for the remaining 34, 1 to 34 months after surgery. A decrease in vulvar size was generally noticed by 2 days after surgery, and complete hair regrowth was noticed by 2 months.

Because clinical signs resolved after adrenalectomy, it was likely that the adrenocortical tumors and nodular hyperplasias of the adrenal gland were hyperfunctional. However, these ferrets did not have excessively high circulating concentrations of cortisol. At present, we recommended that diagnosis of adrenocortical disease in ferrets be made on the basis of characteristic clinical signs, results of abdominal ultrasonography, and finding large adrenal glands during surgery. Results of acth stimulation tests, with determination of plasma cortisol or corticosterone concentrations, were of no value in the diagnosis.

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association