Techniques for endoscopic biopsy of the spleen and bursa of Fabricius were evaluated in 71 juvenile and adult white Carneau pigeons (Columba livia). Splenic biopsy was performed under isoflurane anesthesia by a left lateral approach to the coelom from behind the last rib. From within the left abdominal air sac, the spleen was located just caudal to the isthmus of the proventriculus and ventriculus and ventral to the gonad in 86% of pigeons examined. In the remaining 14%, extensive reproductive activity within mature female pigeons prevented visualization of the spleen. Splenic biopsy samples were successfully obtained from all birds in which the spleen could be found, and all were determined to be of good to excellent histologic quality. Endoscopic biopsy of the bursa of Fabricius was accomplished by cloacoscopy and saline irrigation with the pigeons in dorsal recumbency. The bursa of Fabricius was located and a biopsy was done in 28 (39%) of 71 pigeons. Initial histopathologic evaluation indicated that only 30% of the biopsy samples possessed lymphoid tissue of diagnostic quality. Splenic biopsy via coelioscopy appeared safe and rewarding in pigeons. Cloacoscopy provided an excellent view of the cloaca and appeared to be well tolerated; however, biopsy of the bursa of Fabricius is not recommended because of poor diagnostic value of the specimens and the risk of cloacal perforation.
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Vol. 20 • No. 4