Diagnosis and Successful Treatment of Trichomonosis in a Captive Finch Population
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2013
Kathryn E. Seeley1, DVM; Vincent Baldanza2, VMD; Leigh A. Clayton1, DVM, DABVP (Avian, Reptile/Amphibian); Catherine A. Hadfield1, MA, Vet MB, MRCVS, DACZM
1National Aquarium, Baltimore, MD, USA; 2School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA


Trichomonas gallinae infection has been associated with disease in pigeons and doves, raptors, budgerigars (Melopsittacus undulatus) and wild finches, but there are few reports in captive finch collections.1,3-6 Twenty-five Gouldian finches (Erythrura gouldiae), 20 double-barred finches (Taeniopygia bichenovii), and 25 star finches (Neochmia ruficauda), all captive bred, started quarantine in April 2011. Routine quarantine testing was unremarkable. Trichomonas was identified in the oropharynx and esophagus on histology of a double-barred finch that died on day 12 and on crop wet mount of a Gouldian finch that died on day 38.

Group treatment was initiated on day 38 with metronidazolea in the drinking water at 500 mg/L SID x 21 d. Four thin Gouldian finches were administered metronidazoleb at 30 mg/kg PO BID x 5 d, in addition to the group treatment. Cleaning and disinfection of food and water bowls was increased.

There were four mortalities (3 Gouldian finches, 1 star finch) between days 42 and 71. All were negative for trichomonosis on wet mount and histology. However, histology showed avian gastric yeast (Macrorhabdus ornithogaster) and splenic and/or hepatic amyloidosis, which are reported with trichomonosis.2,3 Oral swabs collected on days 71, 92, and 120 were negative for T. gallinae based on culture and direct microscopy.c

The birds cleared quarantine on day 126 and were introduced into a large mixed-species aviary exhibit. There has been no recurrence or evidence of transmission to exhibit Columbiformes since introduction. This case illustrates successful treatment of trichomonosis in a captive finch population.


a. Teva Pharmaceuticals, Sellersville, PA, USA
b. Compounded 25 mg/ml, BCP Veterinary Pharmacy, Houston, TX, USA
c. Veterinary Diagnostic Lab, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA

Literature Cited

1.  Chalmers, G.A. 1992. Trichomoniasis in finches. Can. Vet. J. 33: 616–617.

2.  Forrester, D.J., G.W. Foster. 2008. Trichomonosis. In: Atkinson, C.T., N.J. Thomas, D.B. Hunter (eds). Parasitic Diseases of Wild Birds. 1st ed. Wiley-Blackwell, Ames, Iowa. Pp. 120–153.

3.  Forzan, M.J., R. Vanderstichel, Y.F. Melekhovets, S. McBurney. 2010. Trichomoniasis in finches from the Canadian Maritime provinces—an emerging disease. Can. Vet. J. 51: 391–396.

4.  Lawson, B., R.A. Robinson, K.M. Colvile, K.M. Peck, J. Chantrey, T.W. Pennycott, V.R. Simpson, M.P. Toms, A.A. Cunningham. 2012. The emergence and spread of finch trichomonosis in the British Isles. Philos. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B. Biol. Sci. 367: 2852–2863.

5.  Neimanis, A.S., K. Handeland, M. Isomursu, E. Agren, R. Mattsson, I.S. Hamnes, B. Bergsjo, and V. Hirvela-Koski. 2010. First report of epizootic Trichomoniasis in wild finches (family Fringillidae) in southern Fennoscandia. Avian Dis. 54: 136–141.

6.  Robinson, R.A., B. Lawson, M.P, Toms, K.M. Peck, and J.K. Kirkwood. 2010. Emerging infectious disease leads to rapid population decline of common British birds. PLos One 5: 1–12.


Speaker Information
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Kathryn E. Seeley, DVM
National Aquarium
Baltimore, MD, USA

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