Susceptibility of adult pigeons and hybrid falcons to experimental aspergillosis

Author:

Van Waeyenberghe L, Fischer D, Coenye T, Ducatelle R, Haesebrouck F, Pasmans F, Lierz M, Martel A

Date: 22 January 2013

Abstract:

Aspergillosis caused by Aspergillus fumigatus seems to be more prevalent in some avian species than in others. We compared the development of aspergillosis in 8-month-old Gyr-Saker hybrid falcons and 8-month-old pigeons after a single intratracheal inoculation of different dosages of A. fumigatus conidia (10(7), 10(5) and 10(3)). Clinical signs, including vomiting, discoloration of the urates, loss of appetite and dyspnoea, were observed in four out of five falcons and in four out of five pigeons inoculated with 10(7) A. fumigatus conidia. Necropsy revealed the presence of granulomas in the air sacs and/or lungs in four out of five falcons and in four out of five pigeons in the high dosage group. A. fumigatus was isolated from these granulomas in three falcons and in three pigeons. The presence of fungal hyphae was detected with Periodic acid Shiff reagent staining in three out of five falcons and in three out of five pigeons in the high dosage group. Avian respiratory macrophages were clearly present in and around the fungal granulomas. In the other dosage groups, no granulomas, positive A. fumigatus cultures or fungal hyphae were present, except for one falcon in the middle dosage group in which a sterile granuloma without fungal hyphae was noticed. In conclusion, the study shows that adult falcons and pigeons are susceptible to aspergillosis after inoculation of a single dose of conidia intratracheally.

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