Hemorrhagic Diathesis in Avian Species Following Intramuscular Administration of Polysulfated Glycosaminoglycan
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2012
Kadie Anderson1, DVM; Michael M. Garner2, DVM, DACVP; Holly H. Reed1, DVM; Kimberly Cook3, DVM; Roberto Aguilar4, DVM; Susan Horton5, DVM; Allison L. Case1, DVM; Karen N. Wolf1, MS, DVM, DACZM
1Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium, Tacoma, WA, USA; 2Northwest ZooPath, Monroe, WA, USA; 3Akron Zoological Park, Akron, OH, USA; 4Cape Wildlife Center, Barnstable, MA, USA; 5Chicago Exotics Animal Hospital, Skokie, IL, USA


Polysulfated glycosaminoglycans (PSGAGs) have been used for decades in a variety of species for managing osteoarthritis. Reports on the use of PSGAGs in avian species are scarce.3-5 In domestic cats and dogs, PSGAG administration has caused prolongation of clotting times1,2 yet is considered an efficacious drug with a wide margin of safety. This publication documents four cases of fatal coagulopathies in different avian species [one Abyssinian hornbill (Bucorvus abyssinicus), one barn owl (Tyto alba), one Cooper’s hawk (Accipiter cooperi) and a cockatiel (Nymphicus hollandicus)] following the administration of PSGAG (Adequan®, Luitpold Pharmaceuticals, Shirley, NY, USA). Doses ranged from 0.5–100 mg/kg and were administered at varying frequencies of every other day to once every four weeks. Three of the four birds experienced fatal hemorrhage into the pectoral muscle, while the fourth bled continuously from the injection site. One bird had chronic, severe pre-existing hepatitis and nephritis while the other cases were managed solely for osteoarthritis. This report highlights the occurrence of species sensitivity to PSGAGs and warrants further investigation into the etiopathogenesis of this adverse event.

Literature Cited

1.  De Haan, J., Beale, B., Clemmons, R., and L. Clark. 1994. The effects of polysulfated glycosaminoglycan (Adequan) on activated partial thrombo-plastin time, prothrombin time, complete blood count, biochemical profile, and urinalysis in cats. Vet. Comp. Orthopaed. 7:77–81.

2.  De Haan, J., Goring, R., and B. Beale. 1994. Evaluation of polysulfated glycosaminoglycan for the treatment of hip dysplasia in dogs. Vet. Surg. 23: 177–181.

3.  Suedmeyer, W. 1993. Use of Adequan in articular diseases of avian species. J. Assoc. Avian Vet. 7: 105.

4.  Tully, T. 1994. A treatment protocol for non-responsive arthritis in companion birds. Proc. Ann. Conf. Assoc. Avian Vet. Reno, Nevada. Pp. 45–49.

5.  Tully, T. 1996. Therapeutics. In: Tully, T. N., and S.M. Shane (eds.) Ratite Management, Medicine, and Surgery. Krieger Publishing Co., Malabar, Florida. p. 155–163.


Speaker Information
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Kadie Anderson, DVM
Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium
Tacoma, WA, USA

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