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Cardiomyopathy in a Harris hawk (Parabuteo unicinctus)

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  • 1 Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, Center for Veterinary Health Sciences, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078.
  • | 2 Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Center of New Mexico, 4000 Montgomery Blvd NE, Albuquerque, NM 87109.
  • | 3 Health Sciences Centre, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada.
  • | 4 Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803.
  • | 5 Louisiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, School of Veterinary Medicine, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803.
  • | 6 Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803.
  • | 7 Department of Veterinary Clinical Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61802.
  • | 8 Louisiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, School of Veterinary Medicine, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803.
  • | 9 Department of Comparative Biomedical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803.
  • | 10 Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803.
  • | 11 Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803.

Abstract

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.

Abstract

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.

Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to Dr. Brandão (jbrandao@okstate.edu).