Michigan has abundant resources for outdoor activity including upland gamebird hunting in the wild and on licensed hunting preserves. Due to the popularity of hunting, Michigan had a thriving gamebird industry before the economic downturn of 2008/2009. After the economic downturn, the number of gamebird preserves decreased. To understand the health issues faced by captive gamebird raisers while the industry was thriving, a 25-year retrospective study of gamebird submissions to the Michigan State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory from 1983 through 2008 was undertaken. Although pheasants, quail, partridges, grouse, and mallard ducks were raised, pheasants greatly outnumbered all other gamebird species, both in numbers and submissions, and quail were the next most predominant species. Causes for submission included parasitic, bacterial, viral, and miscellaneous causes. Parasitic diseases were predominant, with coccidiosis being the leading diagnosis in pheasants and partridges and Capillaria spp. infestation of the crop prevailing in quail. Bacterial diseases were the next most predominant affliction, with clostridial enteritis, both necrotic and ulcerative, in quail, and a variety of bacterial diseases were found in pheasants and partridges. Rotaviral enteritis and adenovirus were the most prevalent viral diseases in pheasants, with adenovirus being the predominant viral disease in quail and paramyxovirus the most prevalent in partridges. From these findings, we conclude that gamebird submissions should be closely screened for parasitic diseases and the diagnosis confirmed at necropsy through scraping and examination of affected tissues.
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Vol. 65 • No. 1