Today's Veterinary Practice

MAR-APR 2018

Today's Veterinary Practice provides comprehensive information to keep every small animal practitioner up to date on companion animal medicine and surgery as well as practice building and management.

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77 MARCH/APRIL 2018 ● TVPJOURNAL.COM CLINICAL INSIGHTS Avian Aspergillosis— What Every Veterinarian Needs to Know MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES Joyce Huang, BSFR Joerg Mayer, DVM, MS, DABVP, DACZM University of Georgia WHAT IS IT? Aspergillosis, a noncontagious, opportunistic fungal infection, is caused by Aspergillus species. It is also known as a mycotic infection, which may cause a fungal pneumonia. The spores are ubiquitous in the environment, and most birds can be considered exposed; outdoor environments pose a higher risk than does being kept completely indoors. 1 It is a common disease in captive birds, and the most common causative species is Aspergillus fumigatus. 2 The clinical disease typically appears as a result of immunosuppression. 1,2 An acute presentation of aspergillosis can occur from an overwhelming concentration of fungal spores, whereas a chronic case is typically due to immunosuppression. Aspergillosis initially affects the air sacs because of the bird's unique respiratory system. SIGNALMENT The fungus is nondiscriminatory—all species and ages and both sexes can be affected. However, certain species have been reported to be more at risk for Aspergillus infection. 2 Captive psittacines (such as African grey parrots, amazons, and macaws), birds of prey (merlins, gyrfalcons, red-tailed hawks, golden eagles, rough-legged hawks, goshawks, snowy owls), waterfowl (swans), penguins, pheasants, turkeys, bird of paradise, and mynahs are some species known to have been infected with aspergillosis. 1-4 Risk factors are listed in BOX 1 . Humid environments propagate excessive fungal growth, and very dry and dusty ones with poor ventilation favor spore formation; both can predispose birds to aspergillosis because of the increased potential for fungal growth. Associated conditions include anorexia, depression, dyspnea, weakness, and nasal granulomas. 1 BIRD'S EYE VIEW Certain avian species such as captive psittacines have been reported to be more at risk for Aspergillus infection. shutterstock.com/Krivosheev Vitaly

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