A 5-year-old sexually intact male Toulouse goose (Anser anser domesticus) was presented for ataxia, polyuria, and polydipsia. The goose was cachectic and exhibited head tremors. Results of plasma biochemical analysis and point-of-care glucometry revealed persistent hyperglycemia. Despite supportive care and oral glipizide, the goose died within 48 hours of presentation. Necropsy revealed severe pancreatic atrophy and fibrosis with regionally extensive cerebellar encephalomalacia and generalized Purkinje cell degeneration and necrosis. On a wet basis, hepatic zinc concentration was determined to be twice the reference interval by atomic absorption spectroscopy. Based on these findings, the pancreatic insufficiency with secondary diabetes mellitus was attributed to chronic zinc toxicosis. Despite birds' relative resistance to high blood glucose concentrations, prolonged hyperglycemia is suspected to have caused selective Purkinje cell degeneration and necrosis by glial activation, mitochondrial dysfunction, and glutamate toxicity, which resulted in the clinically observed motor deficits. This is consistent with experimental diabetic rat models. This case highlights the need for further investigation of the complex pathophysiology of diabetes mellitus in birds.
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