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Feather-destructive behavior (feather picking) is a common and often severe problem of captive psittacine birds. Many potential etiologies have been explored, including, but not limited to, behavioral derangements, internal and external parasitism

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

-11 Neuropathic gastric dilatation, presumed to have a viral etiology, causes progressive loss of muscle tone and, inevitably, fatal proventricular dysfunction. It is the most commonly reported condition affecting the proventriculus in psittacines, but the true

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

conditions that significantly reduce the life expectancy of psittacine birds. There is a strong species predisposition to atherosclerosis and other lipid disorders, especially within Amazon parrots ( Amazona spp.), grey parrots ( Psittacus erithacus

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research

It is assumed that Staphylococcus spp are part of the normal microflora of psittacines, 1,2 and thus it has been suggested that cultures of samples collected from the skin of parrots with results that are positive for staphylococci be

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

species of birds, and numerous reports 7–15 exist. Atherosclerosis has been reported as the most common pathological change observed in blood vessels of captive psittacine birds. 16 Atherosclerosis in captive psittacine birds is a postmortem finding at

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

the pathogenesis and treatment of atherosclerosis. Among birds, psittacines seem particularly prone to developing spontaneous lesions principally in the large arteries at the heart base. 4–7 However, scientific investigations are scarce and certainly

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To determine reference values for size of the radiographic cardiac silhouette in healthy adult medium-sized psittacines.

Design—Prospective case series.

Animals—46 African grey parrots (Psittacus erythacus), 7 Senegal parrots (Poicephalus senegalis), and 6 orange-winged Amazon parrots (Amazona amazonica).

Procedure—Birds were anesthetized, and ventrodorsal radiographic projections were obtained. Maximum width of the cardiac silhouette, width of the thorax at the level of the maximum width of the cardiac silhouette, and width of the coracoid were measured on the radiographs. Sternum length was directly measured on individual birds. Results of physical examination, electrocardiography, and echocardiography were normal in all birds.

Results—Mean cardiac silhouette width-to-sternum length ratio was 38%, mean cardiac silhouette widthto- thorax width ratio was 55%, and mean cardiac silhouette width-to-coracoid width ratio was 600%. Width of the cardiac silhouette was strongly correlated with length of the sternum, width of the coracoid, and width of the thorax. No significant differences between species were detected.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that in healthy adult medium-sized psittacines, the cardiac silhouette on a ventrodorsal radiographic projection should be 35 to 41% of the length of the sternum, 51 to 61% of the width of the thorax, and 545 to 672% of the width of the coracoid. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2002;221:76–79)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

psittacines. Biuret and refractometric methods have been discussed in detail elsewhere. 5,6 In most mammals, plasma or serum albumin concentrations can be accurately and precisely assayed with techniques that involve binding of BCG or bromcresol purple dye

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Objective

To characterize prevalence and type of cardiac disease evident in psittacine birds during postmortem examination.

Design

Retrospective study.

Animals

26 psittacine birds with gross and histologic evidence of cardiac disease.

Procedure

Records of postmortem examinations of psittacine birds necropsied during a 4-year period were reviewed. Data on gross and histologic evidence of cardiac disease were analyzed. Birds identified included those in which congestive heart failure (CHF) was considered the primary cause of death and those in which substantial cardiac disease was evident, despite a lack of postmortem findings supportive of CHF.

Results

Of 269 psittacine birds necropsied, 26 (9.7%) had evidence of cardiac disease. In 15 (58%) birds with cardiac disease, changes consistent with CHF were evident and were sufficiently severe as to be considered the cause of death. The remaining 11 birds had cardiac lesions secondary to other systemic diseases; cardiac lesions were considered to be an incidental finding in these birds, and CHF was not evident. Of the 15 birds with CHF, 10 had evidence of right ventricular or biventricular failure, whereas only 5 had evidence of left ventricular failure.

Clinical Implications

Prevalence of cardiac disease in the psittacine birds reported here was similar to that seen clinically in other companion animals. The high incidence of right ventricular or biventricular heart failure in psittacine birds was similar to that for poultry in which lesions of right-sided heart failure predominate. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1998;212:1737–1742)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association