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Semen collection and artificial insemination have made important contributions to the breeding of avian species in captivity. These techniques have been successfully used primarily in breeding programs of rare and endangered species and in the production of hybrid falcons for the sport of falconry. Semen samples are collected from nondomestic birds by using the cooperative, massage, and electroejaculation methods. After semen collection, insemination is done by the simple process of transferring semen samples directly into the oviduct of the hen. Freshly collected semen samples also can be diluted to obtain the desired spermatozoa concentration for multiple inseminations or for short-term and long-term storage. This paper reviews the different methods used for semen collection, techniques for semen dilution and preservation, and use of artificial insemination in nondomestic birds.
Buprenorphine is a synthetic mixed agonist-antagonist opiate analgesic that is used in a variety of species. To determine if a dose of buprenorphine at 0.1 mg/kg achieves plasma concentrations in parrots that would be analgesic in humans (0.5–1.0 ng/ml), we administered a single dose of buprenorphine (at 0.1 mg/kg) either intramuscularly (5 birds) or intravenously (1 bird) to African grey parrots (Psittacus erithacus erithacus). Serial plasma samples were taken before and at 0.25, 0.5, 0.75, 1.0, 1.5, 2, 6, and 8 hours after administration. For a single intramuscular dose, buprenorphine was rapidly absorbed, and plasma concentrations had a mean residence time of 1.0 hour, elimination half-life of 1.0 hour, and maximum concentration of 68.7 ng/ml, determined by using noncompartmental analysis. This dose of buprenorphine can achieve plasma levels for at least 2 hours in the African grey parrot for comparable analgesic levels in humans, however buprenorphine is not recommended as an analgesic treatment for parrots until pharmacokinetic and analgesia studies are done at higher doses.
Clinical records from 3376 falcons of different species presented to the Falcon Specialist Hospital and Research Institute of the Fahad bin Sultan Falcon Center, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, from September 1, 1998, to March 1, 2001, were reviewed to determine the causes of morbidity and mortality in falcons in Saudi Arabia. The most common causes of morbidity were infectious diseases, traumatic injuries, toxicosis, and metabolic or nutritional diseases. The most common causes of mortality were bacterial and fungal diseases, bumblefoot, collision-type injuries, injuries inflicted by other birds, lead and ammonium chloride toxicosis, gout, sour crop, and low body condition. These findings contribute to the limited available information about morbidity and mortality in falcons in Saudi Arabia in particular and in the Middle East in general.
Radiographic records were reviewed from 1702 falcons of different species that were presented to the Falcon Specialist Hospital and Research Institute of the Fahad bin Sultan Falcon Center, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, from September 1, 1998, to March 1, 2002. The most common radiographic findings were homogeneous and nonhomogeneous increased radiopacity and localized soft-tissue densities of the lungs and air sacs, hepatomegaly, presence of lead particles or excessive amounts of sand in the gastrointestinal tract, gastrointestinal tract dilatation, and bone fractures. These findings contribute to the scant information available about health and disease of falcons in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in particular and in the Middle East in general.
A captive 10-year-old female northern pintail (Anas acuta) with a history of unilateral lameness was diagnosed at necropsy with polycystic disease most severely affecting the right kidney. The lameness was attributed to pressure on the sacral nerve plexus caused by the unusually large cyst arising from the right kidney. Polycystic kidney disease previously has been considered an incidental finding in avian species and has only been reported in a pigeon. The clinical significance of polycystic kidney disease in this pintail was attributed to the mechanical pressure caused by the cyst rather than renal dysfunction.
An adult free-ranging great horned owl (Bubo virginianus) was presented depressed and in poor body condition. Results of hematologic testing revealed severe leukocytosis and lymphocytosis, and large lymphocytes containing large eccentric nuclei and prominent nucleoli were present on a peripheral blood smear. Hepatomegaly and renomegaly were evident radiographically. The owl was treated supportively but died 9 days after presentation. At necropsy, the liver and kidneys were severely enlarged, focal yellow plaques were present on air sac membranes, and small yellow granulomas were present in the lung parenchyma. On histopathologic examination, the liver, spleen, and kidneys were infiltrated with a homogeneous population of large lymphocytes with mitotic figures, and clusters of septate fungal hyphae resembling Aspergillus species were evident in lung parenchyma. Virus isolation was negative. The diagnosis was a lymphoproliferative disorder of unknown etiology and concurrent pulmonary aspergillosis.
Mississippi sandhill cranes (Grus canadensis pulla) are a highly endangered species that live in the wild in 1 county in Mississippi. As part of a large effort to restore these endangered cranes, we are conducting a project to look at the causes of mortality in crane chicks on the Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge in Gautier, MS, USA. This includes surgically implanting miniature radio transmitters in crane chicks to gather data on mortality. This article describes some of the practical difficulties in conducting this type of project in a savannah and swamp location along the Gulf Coast of the USA.