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  • Author or Editor: Terry M. Wilson x
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We evaluated the efficacy of acyclovir against experimentally induced herpesvirus infection (Pacheco's parrot disease) in Quaker parakeets. Thirty-two of 40 birds were challenge-exposed with 0.1 ml of a suspension of herpesvirus (104 median cell culture infective doses [ccid 50]) given im. Treatment with acyclovir was started 24 hours later and was continued for 7 days. The birds were allotted to 5 groups of 8 birds each. There was a considerable difference in mortality between groups 1–5. Of 8 birds in each group, 6 died in group 1 (control), 1 died in group 2 (gavage), 3 died in group 3 (low dose, im), 4 died in group 4 (high dose, im), and none died in group 5 (contact controls). There was a significant (P = 0.023) difference in mortality between groups 1 and 2, thus the oral form of acyclovir administered by gavage was the most efficacious therapeutic regimen. Clinical signs and death occurred after discontinuation of acyclovir in groups 2 and 3, whereas the mean time of death for the control group was 6 days after challenge exposure. Herpesvirus was recovered by inoculation of chick embryo cell culture with pooled tissue suspensions from all birds that died. Histologic evidence of herpesvirus infection was found in most birds that died, with the control group having the most severe lesions. Surviving Quaker parakeets were transferred to cages with seronegative Quaker parakeets with no known exposure to herpesvirus. There have been no deaths attributable to herpesvirus infection in a period exceeding 2 years.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research