Psittacines are found all over the globe, from tropical to very cold regions. There are approximately 350 species of psittacines in the world, 100 in South America, and around 80 species reside in Brazil. As an order, psittacines represent more endangered species, around 90 species worldwide. The objective of this study was to contribute a more precise diagnosis of the causes of death and the most common diseases of captive psittacines in Brazil. Causes of captive psittacine morbidity and mortality were quantitatively and qualitatively characterized. Cause of death was based on pathological study in association with other diagnostic tests, including microbiology, parasitology, immunohistochemistry, polymerase chain reaction, in situ hybridization, and general information on the history and management of the animals.
One-hundred-thirty psittacines from 13 different institutions were examined postmortem. The birds examined represented 26 species, 18 species native to Brazil, and seven non-native species. From this group, 58.5% were from zoos, parks, and breeding facilities, and 41.5% were from private owners. The most common species was the blue-fronted Amazon parrot (Amazona aestiva), representing 69/130 (53%) of the total of animals studied.
Infectious processes were the leading cause of mortality, identified as the cause of death in 60.8% of the cases examined. Noninfectious causes occurred in 28.5%, undetermined causes in 6.9%, and infectious/suspicious causes in 3.8% of the cases examined. Among the agents responsible for infectious process, bacteria were involved in 30.8% of the cases, followed by parasites (16.1%), Chlamydia sp. (5.4%), fungi (3.1%), mixed fungal and bacterial infection (2.3%), Mycobacterium sp. (1.5%), viruses (0.8%), and concomitant bacteria and parasite infection (0.8%). Among the noninfectious processes, the most common death cause was trauma (6.9%). Noninfectious process in the digestive system occurred in 6.2% of the cases examined, followed by intoxications (3.8%), euthanasia (3.8%), neoplasia (2.3%), stress (2.3%), cardiovascular processes (2.4%), and metabolic disorders (0.8%).
The following veterinarians and institutions provided technical support and granted the animals to study: Rodrigo H.F. Teixeira and Adauto N. Veloso, Sorocaba’s Zoo; Marta B. Guimarães, Catia Dejuste de Paula, Sidnei M. Sakamoto, Priscila Melville, and Marco A. Gattamorta, FMVZ/USP; Liliane Milanello, Parque Ecológico do Tiête; José H. Fontenelle, Orquidário de Santos; Tânia F. Raso, FMVZ/UNESP; Venâncio A.F. Alves and Cristina T. Kanamura, Instituto Adolfo Lutz; Ken Latimer, University of Geórgia; Adriana Joppert, DEPAVE; Yolanda Takehana, Paque das Hortências; and Cristina Fotin, Clínica Veterinária Jardim Ester. This project was financially supported by a São Paulo Governmental Foundation (Fundação de Amparo a Pesquisa de São Paulo-FAPESP/SP).