Cardiovascular lesions are commonly diagnosed postmortem in scarlet ibis (Eudocimus ruber), but antemortem diagnosis is rare. The aim of this study was to evaluate the cardiovascular health of a zoo population (n = 44) of apparently healthy, adult, scarlet ibis. A cross-sectional study design was employed whereby each animal was manually restrained for physical examination, phlebotomy, and echocardiographic examination performed with a 12-MHz transducer and a ventromedial approach, and observed intervals were calculated for 12 parameters. Seven individuals from the study population had high left-sided mid-ventricular velocities (2.59–5.89 m/sec) compared with values in other species. Follow-up examination suggested that these mid-ventricular obstructive lesions were dynamic and transient in nature rather than caused by fixed lesions within the outflow tract and may therefore be associated with stress. Conscious echocardiography proved to be feasible, although, unsurprisingly, the stress response in nonhabituated birds appeared to increase blood flow velocities. Handling protocols likely have a significant effect on echocardiographic parameters and should be taken into consideration when interpreting findings. Serum cholesterol concentrations were generally high (7.4–13.0 mmol/L), and further work is required to investigate the relationship between circulating cholesterol and the development of atherosclerosis in scarlet ibis. Serum cardiac troponin I concentrations were measured, and four animals were identified with suspected elevated levels, likely indicative of myocardial damage.
cardiac troponin I