Overview of Atherosclerosis Occurrence in Raptors: A 12-Year Retrospective Survey at Zooparc de Beauval
Atherosclerosis is a chronic inflammatory fibroproliferative vascular disease characterized by the disorganization of the arterial intima and media due to accumulation of fat, cholesterol, calcium, inflammatory cells, and cellular debris. Atherosclerosis has been frequently described in Psittaciformes, but also appears to be an important cause of mortality in birds of prey.1-10 In order to determine the importance of atherosclerosis as a cause of death in raptor species, a retrospective survey of post-mortem analysis was conducted at ZooParc de Beauval. From 2005 to 2017, 213 post-mortem examinations were performed in birds of prey. 26.29% (n=56/213) of deaths were attributed to myocardial lesions compatible with atherosclerosis in 18 different species and in 31 of 56 individuals, atherosclerosis was the only gross lesion reported. Age and sex predisposition did not appear to be a risk factor as it has been previously reported in Psittaciformes (p>0.05). Although a few species presented a certain amount of deaths related to atheroma deposits, a few others such as turkey vulture (Cathartes aura) (n=2/31; 6.5%; p<0.05) and Harris' hawk (Parabuteo unicinctus) (n=2/29; 6.9%; p>0.05) appeared less susceptible. Considering the overall high prevalence, group management included transition to a low-fat diet and, in some cases, oral treatment with isoxsuprine (10 mg.kg-1 q24h 30 days; Duvadilan 10 mg, Abbott India Ltd., India), a peripheral vasodilator. The use of new diagnostic tools such as computed tomographic angiography and lipid blood profile assessment needs to be considered in the future. Establishment of major arteries diameter reference values will help earlier detection of the disease and better management of the affected individuals.
The authors would like to thank the keepers and trainees who helped in the achievement of this retrospective survey.
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