Ocular Findings and Ophthalmic Values in a Flock of Captive Chilean Flamingos (Phoenicopterus chilensis)
2018 Joint EAZWV/AAZV/Leibniz-IZW Conference
Rodrigo S. Garcés Torres1,3, DVM; Cassandra D. Bliss2, DVM, DACVO; Benjamin E. Alcántar Hernández1, MVZ
1Safari Game Search Foundation DBA Wildlife Safari, Winston, OR, USA; 2 Bliss Animal Eye Care, Inc., Central Point, OR, USA; 3Facultad de Medicina Veterinaria y Zootecnia, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ciudad de México, México


The purpose of this study was to describe findings of ophthalmic examination and report ocular diagnostic test parameters in a population of captive Chilean flamingos (Phoenicopterus chilensis). We hypothesized that the results would be similar to those reported in the Phoenicopteridae family.1,2

Nine individuals underwent a complete ophthalmological examination using slit-lamp biomicroscopy, phenol red thread test (PRTT), intraocular pressure (IOP) by rebound tonometry TonoVet®,a ocular biometrics with B-mode ultrasound,b and aerobic bacterial cultures. The birds were divided by gender and age groups (<12 years; >12 years) for statistical analysis.

Seventeen abnormalities were detected in eleven eyes (61.1%). The most common were cataracts (35.3%), corneal lucency/translucencies (23.5%), and ectropion uvea (17.6%). The mean result of the PRTT was 5.06 s ±2.26 mm, measured at 15 seconds. The mean IOP was ±1.5 mm Hg. The difference between IOP (p=0.03) and pecten width (p=0.004) by age group was statistically significant, showing that birds <12 years old had lower IOP (6.8 mm Hg) and wider pectens (3.24 mm) than birds >12 years old (8.3 mm Hg, 2.1 mm respectively). Regarding gender, the difference in AP globe length was significant (p=0.03) between males (14.03 mm) and females (13.05 mm). Pseudomonas sp. was the most common microorganism recovered (77.7%).

Consistent with our hypothesis, results that were similar to other flamingo species included IOP by rebound tonometry, and ocular biometric with B-mode ultrasound. The value for PRTT in Chilean flamingos was considerably different than those reported for American flamingos (Phoenicopterus ruber).1


a. ICare Finland Oy, Espoo, Finland

b. Sonoscape Medical Corp®, S9, Shenzen, China


The authors would like to thank staff from Bliss Animal Eye Care and the Village Department at Wildlife Safari for their help and support during this study.

Literature Cited

1.  Meekins JM, Stuckey JA, Carpenter JW, Armbrust L, Higbie C, Rankin AJ. Ophthalmic diagnostic tests and ocular findings in a flock of captive American flamingos (Phoenicopterus ruber ruber). J Avian Med Surg. 2015;29:95–105.

2.  Molter CM, Hollingsworth SR, Kass PH, Chinnadurai SK, Wack RF. Intraocular pressure in captive American flamingos (Phoenicopterus ruber) as measured by rebound tonometry. J Zoo Wildl Med. 2014;45:664–667.


Speaker Information
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Rodrigo S. Garcés Torres, DVM
Safari Game Search Foundation DBA Wildlife Safari
Winston, OR, USA

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