Teresa Lightfoot, DVM, DABVP (avian)
Proper positioning is critical. Use of anesthesia and/or restraint boards will reduce the human exposure to radiation, but may pose increased risks to the compromised patient. These risks should be assessed prior to obtaining radiographs.
In areas where outdoor breeding is common, psittacines may contract parasitic burdens of ascarids (Ascaridia sp.) that can be harmful or fatal. Fecal direct smears/floatation may demonstrate parasitic ova, however; negatives fecals will occur in some parasitized birds. In endemic areas, outdoor breeding birds and their offspring should be routinely dewormed for nematodes. See table below of pyrantel pamoate dosages.
Xanthomas are generally friable, yellow-colored fatty-appearing masses that may be located anywhere on the body, but are often seen on the distal wing, in the sterno-pubic area and on the keel. The origin of xanthomas is unknown, however, dietary improvement, including sufficient Vitamin A or Vitamin A precursors, has been noted to be curative in less advanced cases.
Over the past twenty-five years, avian husbandry and medicine have undergone drastic changes, including a significant increase in domestically raised pet birds and major advances in avian nutrition. Despite the potentially adverse psychological effects of incubator hatching and hand-raising (which is a separate but critical concern), these changes have resulted in birds that are living longer. Just as in human medicine, coping with the process of aging is a necessary consequence of greater longevity.
An excellent resource for information on the testing, treatment, zoonotic and legal implications of this disease can be found in the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians (NASPHV) Psittacosis Compendium (www.nasphv.org).
Metabolic bone disease: Inadequate calcium and Vitamin D3 intake may present as generalized osteopenia and/or folding fractures.