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J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2009 Apr 15;234(8):1055-9. doi: 10.2460/javma.234.8.1055.

Chronic cor pulmonale secondary to pulmonary atherosclerosis in an African Grey parrot.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA.



A 20-year-old sexually intact female African Grey parrot (Psittacus erithacus) was evaluated to determine the cause of lethargy, hyporexia, weight loss, and persistent ascites of 21 days' duration.


Physical examination revealed a markedly distended abdomen and systolic heart murmur. Thoracic radiography revealed cardiomegaly and hepatomegaly. Doppler echocardiography revealed severe eccentric and concentric hypertrophy of the right ventricle with systolic dysfunction, moderate regurgitation through the right atrioventricular valve, a substantial increase in estimated systolic pulmonary arterial pressure, hepatic venous congestion, and coelomic effusion. A clinical diagnosis of chronic cor pulmonale was established.


The parrot was initially stabilized by use of coelomocentesis. During the next month, the parrot was treated by administration of furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide, spironolactone, benazepril, and pimobendan. The parrot appeared to be responding well to treatment but was found dead in its cage 35 days following initial examination. Postmortem examination revealed substantial atherosclerosis of the large pulmonary arteries, with lesions extending into the medium-size arteries. Pulmonary atherosclerosis was suspected as a cause of the severe pulmonary hypertension.


Although atherosclerosis most commonly affects the systemic and coronary arteries of parrots, sclerotic changes within the pulmonary vasculature should be considered as a possible cause of pulmonary hypertension and as a differential diagnosis for right-sided congestive heart failure in psittacine species.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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