Survey of the pathologic findings in a large production colony of pigeons, with special reference to pseudomembranous stomatitis and nephritis.

Abstract

Pathologic evaluations of pigeons dying between September 1984 and August 1985 are reported for a production colony of 1200-1800 White Carneau and Show Racer pigeons ranging in age from hatchlings to 12 years. Infectious diseases were the common causes of death in pigeons younger than 1 year; salmonellosis and nephritis were the common causes in pigeons 1-3 years old; and neoplasia and reproductive organ disorders were the common causes in pigeons older than 3 years. Monthly mortality was 2-4% in pigeons fed a cholesterol-containing diet and 0.9% in those fed noncholesterol-containing pellet diets. The increased deaths in the cholesterol-fed birds were attributed primarily to end-stage renal disease and atherosclerosis with secondary complications. The most frequently observed clinical entity in pigeons younger than 6 months was pseudomembrane formation on the oral and pharyngeal mucosa, termed pseudomembranous stomatitis. The definitive etiologic factor was not determined. Although all affected pigeons had similar gross lesions, the cases fell into one of three subsets, suggestive of bacterial, fungal, or viral etiologies. Chronic nephritis occurring as end-stage renal disease was more severe in pigeons fed a cholesterol-containing diet.

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