Horner's syndrome was diagnosed in a 3-year-old female red-bellied parrot (Poicephalus rufiventris). The cause of Horner's syndrome in this bird was thought to be trauma to the base of the neck. Clinical signs included unilateral ptosis and changes in the position and behavior of feathers on the affected side of the head and neck. The ptosis was markedly ameliorated after the sympathomimetic agent phenylephrine was applied locally, confirming the diagnosis. Involvement of feather follicles in Horner's syndrome has not been reported previously but is consistent with the exclusively adrenergic innervation of smooth muscles controlling feather movement. This is the second report of Horner's syndrome in a bird and the first in a psittacine species. The paucity of cases in birds is surprising, as head and neck trauma are common. Horner's syndrome should be considered as a differential diagnosis for ptosis in an avian species.
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Vol. 19 • No. 1