Prospective Assessment of Avian Coagulation in Response to Parenteral Adequan® Administration in a Domestic Chicken (Gallus gallus) Model
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2019
Amanda M. Wonn1, BS; Marjory B. Brooks2, DVM, DACVIM (Small Animal Internal Medicine); Kathryn C. Gamble1, DVM, MS, DACZM, DECZM (Zoo Health Management)
1Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago, IL, USA; 2Comparative Coagulation Section, Animal Health Diagnostic Center, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA


Adequan® (Elanco, Luitpold Animal Health, Greenfield, IN, USA; canine, 100 mg/ml) is a parenteral polysulfated glycosaminoglycan approved for use in managing osteoarthritis in dogs and horses. Its chemical structure, similar to heparin, may confer anticoagulant properties.6 While used extra-label for many species, anecdotal reports describe hemorrhagic diathesis and cardiovascular shock in treated birds;1 however, in one zoological practice, this product has been administered to 36 individuals of 24 avian species since 2002 with good clinical benefit for periods of greater than 12 months’ duration (Gamble, personal communication). The empiric dose regimen is weekly for 4–6 weeks based on patient improvement, then for two doses at 2-week intervals, and then maintained monthly. It has been administered subcutaneously, rather than intramuscularly, to reduce potential muscle damage and minimize hemorrhage, as described in a 2012 report.1

In this prospective study, Adequan® (1 mg/kg SC) was administered to six adult domestic chickens (Gallus gallus) following this practice’s clinical avian regimen. Patient-side whole blood activated clotting time (ACT) and citrated plasma thrombin clotting time (TCT) submitted to a diagnostic laboratory were used to monitor coagulation status.2,4 Both ACT and TCT are sensitive to heparin’s anticoagulant action, as detected by prolongation of fibrin clot endpoint.3,5,7 Baseline coagulation parameters varied among birds; thus, individual changes over time were evaluated to provide evidence of a heparin-like effect of Adequan® and assess use of these assays in future studies in exotic avian species. Ultimately, the goal is to prospectively monitor individual patients to minimize risk of clinical coagulopathy during treatment with Adequan®.


The authors thank the Farm-in-the-Zoo Keepers of Lincoln Park Zoo for their assistance in the care of these birds, and Dr. Kate Gustavsen, Dr. Jessica Lovstad, the veterinary technicians, and ZooMed Support Intern of Lincoln Park Zoo for their assistance in sample collection and processing.

Literature Cited

1.  Anderson K, Garner MM, Reed HH, Cook K, Aguilar R, Horton S, Case AL, Wolf KN. Hemorrhagic diathesis in avian species following intramuscular administration of polysulfated glycosaminoglycan. J Zoo Wildl Med. 2013;44:93–99.

2.  Bigland CH, Triantaphyllopoulos DC. Chicken prothrombin, thrombin, and fibrinogen. Am J Physiol. 1960;200:1013–1017.

3.  Buzala M, Slomka A, Janicki B, Ponczek MB, Zekanowska E. Review: The mechanism of blood coagulation, its disorders and measurement in poultry. Livest Sci. 2017;195:1–8.

4.  Guddorf V, Rohn K, Kummerfeld N, Mischke R. Comparative aspects of blood coagulation measurements in various wild and captive bird species. Tierarztl Prax Kleintiere. 2017;45:246–252.

5.  Stopforth A. A study of coagulation mechanisms in domestic chickens. J Comp Pathol. 1970;80:525–533.

6.  Suedmeyer K. Use of Adequan in articular diseases of avian species. J Avian Med Surg. 1993;7:105.

7.  Thomson AE, Squires EJ, Gentry PA. Assessment of factor V, VII, and X activities, the key coagulant proteins of the tissue factor pathway in poultry plasma. Br Poult Sci. 2002;43:313–321.


Speaker Information
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Amanda M. Wonn, BS
Lincoln Park Zoo
Chicago, IL, USA

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