Sojka, Peter A., Johnson, Kryssa L., Jones, Michael P., and Sokol, Set
Journal of Exotic Pet Medicine; Oct2020, Vol. 35, p74-77, 4p
Squamous cell carcinoma is a commonly reported neoplasm in avian species. Often locally invasive, it rarely distantly metastasizes. Superficial chronic ulcerative dermatitis (SCUD) is a commonly observed dermatologic condition in companion psittacine birds. This report describes a case of metastatic squamous cell carcinoma in an African gray parrot (Psittacus erithacus) caused by malignant transformation of an initial SCUD lesion that developed over a 2.5-year period. The right humerus was previously amputated to treat a squamous cell carcinoma, but it recurred in the skin 4 months prior to presentation. The bird presented on referral with pelvic limb paresis, and computed tomography showed a large, more right sided, paraspinal mass involving the right caudal coelom and effacing the lungs, ribs, and vertebral canal, resulting in the presenting neurologic signs. The patient was euthanized, and limited necropsy diagnosed the coelomic mass as a squamous cell carcinoma effacing the liver. Though uncommonly reported, squamous cell carcinoma may distantly metastasize to other parts of the body even with partial or seemingly complete excision. SCUD is still a poorly understood condition and should be further researched to determine etiology and find more effective therapies. This is the first report of a metastatic squamous cell carcinoma invading the vertebral canal and spinal cord resulting in upper motor neuron signs in the pelvic limbs. Chronic inflammation may lead to malignant transformation, and once squamous cell carcinoma has developed, the goal of therapy should be complete surgical excision where possible. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
Bornaviruses are considered to be the causative agent of proventricular dilatation disease (PDD) in psittacine birds. In order to detect haematological and blood chemistry changes during the development of PDD and a possible correlation with clinical signs and the virological status, six African grey parrots (Psittacus erithacus) were experimentally infected with parrot bornavirus 4 (PaBV-4) by subcutaneous route. All six parrots developed clinical signs of varying extent and successful infection was confirmed in all the birds by seroconversion or detection of RNA of the PaBV-4 infection strain. Based on population-based and intra-individual reference ranges established during 12 months prior to experimental infection, only minor haematological changes were detected in individual birds after infection. Changes in blood chemistry were restricted to aspartate aminotransferase, creatine kinase, total protein, glucose and uric acid. Plasma protein electrophoresis revealed marked changes starting 10 weeks post infection characterized by an increase in theγ-globulin fraction and a gradual decrease to normal values during weeks 22–34. Indications of an acute-phase reaction at the initial stages of infection were not detected. While three birds suffered from clinical signs of PDD, which included weight loss and neurological disorders and died before development of haematological and plasma protein changes, recovery of clinical disease was paralleled in the remaining birds by an increase inγ-globulins and bornavirus-specific antibody titres. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
AFRICAN gray parrot, PATHOLOGY, BIRD diseases, DISEASES, and FEATHER diseases
This study is the first report on the genetic and pathogenic characterization of beak and feather disease virus (BFDV) occurring in Italy. Twenty BFDV strains isolated in Italy from juvenile Congo African grey parrots (Psittacus erithacus) were investigated. Seventeen strains showed an “atypical peracute form” (aPF) of the disease, and three a chronic form (CF). The birds with aPF had been weaned, were independent as far as food and protection were concerned and apparently were without lesions. The gene coding for the putative coat protein was amplified in all isolates while the BFDV genome was sequenced completely in 10 samples, eight of them belonging to aPF affected birds and two from CF of the disease. All full genomes clustered into the J strain of BFDV, where two new subtypes were identified. Recombination analyses showed evidence of genetic exchanges in two BFDV genomes. In addition, a correlation between viral isolate and origin of the breeding material was shown, while an association between the genetic features of the virus and the clinical form was not observed. Histologically, apoptosis was detected frequently in aPF samples and sporadically in CF samples. Interestingly, BFDV antigens were detected in the nuclei and cytoplasm of such apoptotic cells. The data presented here support the hypothesis that, in the absence of a defined BFDV genetic variant accountable for a specific clinical form of psittacine beak and feather disease, differences in the apoptotic rate between aPF and CF are strictly host related. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
ANIMAL sound production, AFRICAN gray parrot behavior, ANIMAL species, BIRD populations, ONTOGENY, and ANIMAL communication
A few animal species are capable of vocal learning. Parrots are well known for their vocal imitation abilities. In this study, we investigated whether African grey parrots ( Psittacus erithacus) emit specific vocalizations in specific contexts. We first described the vocal repertoire and its ontogenesis of four captive grey parrots. After a comparison with vocalizations emitted by wild and other captive African grey parrots, we observed that only three call categories were shared by all grey parrots populations, suggesting that isolated populations of parrots develop population-specific calls. Then, we artificially provoked ten different contexts and recorded vocalizations of four captive grey parrots in these situations. Parrots predominantly emitted call categories in some contexts: distress, protestation, alarm, asking (i.e. emitted when a bird wanted something from an experimenter) and contact calls. These results suggest that some calls are learned and can be used in specific contexts. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
Schunk, Raina S. K., Sitinas, Nicholas E., Quesenberry, Katherine E., and Grodio, Jessica L.
Journal of Avian Medicine & Surgery. Dec2017, Vol. 31 Issue 4, p373-381. 9p.
TORULOSIS, CONGO African gray parrot, EXOPHTHALMOS, DNA sequencing, and TERBINAFINE
An approximately 10-year-old, female Congo African grey parrot ( Psittacus erithacus erithacus) developed progressive, unilateral exophthalmos and buphthalmos. Survey radiographs revealed a large, coelomic, soft tissue mass, which was confirmed on computed tomography scan. Aspirates of both the contents of the buphthalmic globe and coelomic mass were consistent with Cryptococcus species. Initial results were later confirmed with serum antigen latex agglutination and polymerase chain reaction testing, and the organism was then identified as Cryptococcus neoformans with DNA sequencing. During the course of 1 year, the bird was treated with combinations of oral terbinafine, fluconazole, and flucytosine, as well as intraocular amphotericin B. The coelomic mass dramatically decreased in size during the course of treatment, but the globe continued to enlarge. The bird died after exhibiting ataxia and seizures approximately 13 months after initial diagnosis, and necropsy confirmed colonization of the cerebrum and meninges with Cryptococcus. Cryptococcus remains a rare fungal disease of birds that is often refractory to treatment. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
Social interaction, Human-animal relationships, African gray parrot behavior, Philosophy of mind, Primates, Rhesus monkeys, and Chimpanzees
Intentionality plays a fundamental part in human social interactions and we know that interpretation of behaviours of conspecifics depends on the intentions underlying them. Most of the studies on intention attribution were undertaken with primates. However, very little is known on this topic in animals more distantly related to humans such as birds. Three hand-reared African grey parrots (Psittacus erithacus) were tested on their ability to understand human intentional actions. The subjects’ attention was not equally distributed across the conditions and their behavioural pattern also changed depending on the condition: the parrots showed more requesting behaviours (opening of the beak and request calls) when the experimenter was unwilling to give them seeds, and bit the wire mesh more that represented the obstacle when the experimenter was trying to give them food. For the first time we showed that a bird species, like primates, may be sensitive to behavioural cues of a human according to his intentions. Keywords: Grey parrots; intention attribution; theory of mind [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
A 20-year-old, female African grey parrot ( Psittacus erithacus erithacus) was examined because of ataxia and weakness. Radiographs were unremarkable, and results of a complete blood cell count revealed leukocytosis and heterophilia. Because of poor response to therapy with meloxicam, doxycycline, and enrofloxacin; deteriorating condition; and poor prognosis, the parrot was euthanatized. Postmortem examination revealed 2 dark red nodules in the liver. No grossly visible mass was observed in the syrinx. Histologic examination of the liver and syrinx revealed similar foci of round, oval, and polygonal cells exhibiting severe pleomorphism, with poorly demarcated cytoplasmic borders and moderate amounts of eosinophilic cytoplasm containing brown to black granules (melanin). The mitotic index was 15. The presence of melanin pigment is consistent with a diagnosis of melanoma at both sites. The multifocal distribution and intravascular invasion indicate metastasis; however, the site of origin was unknown. To our knowledge, this is the first recorded case of melanoma in an avian syrinx. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]