Recent Advances in the Molecular Epidemiology, Etiopathogenesis, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Avian Mycobacteriosis
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2008
Miguel D. Saggese1, MV, PhD; Ian Tizard2, BVMS, PhD; Patricia Gray2, DVM, MS; David N. Phalen3, DVM, PhD, DABVP (Avian)
1College of Veterinary Medicine, Western University of Health Sciences, Pomona, CA, USA; 2The Schubot Exotic Bird Health Center, Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, USA; 3The Wildlife Health and Conservation Centre, University of Sydney, Camden, NSW, Australia


Avian mycobacteriosis is a common disease in pet, avicultural, and zoo birds. In contrast to mycobacterial diseases of humans and livestock, little attention has been paid to the avian disease, and there is little new information available on these infections. A recent development in this field includes the finding that several species of mycobacteria other than Mycobacterium avium appear to commonly cause disease in birds. Information is lacking concerning the role different Mycobacterium species play in the development of the avian disease, as well as the importance of a host’s genetic makeup and immune response. Studies on the predictive value of tissue sampling, the sensitivity and specificity of different diagnostic techniques, and the efficacy of multi-drug therapy in naturally infected birds have been rarely investigated. In this study of Mycobacterium avium subsp. avium infection in ring-necked doves (Streptopelia risoria), differences in prevalence of infection, number of organs affected, and susceptibility to disease were explained by genetic differences associated with a phenotypic characteristic, color morph. Diagnosis of mycobacteriosis in these doves was greatly improved by examining different organs and by performing a combination of culture, PCR, and acid fast staining. However daily treatment with a combination of azithromycin, ethambutol, and rifampin for 6 mo did not produce a cure.


Speaker Information
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Miguel D. Saggese, DVM, MS, PhD
College of Veterinary Medicine
Western University of Health Sciences
Pomona, CA, USA

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