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Lab Anim Sci. 1990 Jul;40(4):402-5.

A retrospective study of disease and mortality in zebra finches.

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Rockefeller University, Laboratory Animal Research Center, New York, NY 10021.


Few published reports exist describing morbidity and mortality in domestic zebra finch colonies maintained in a laboratory animal setting. A retrospective study of clinical disease and mortality in quarantined adult zebra finches was performed. Animals were observed during the 2 week quarantine period and for at least 1 month afterwards (42 days). Signs of disease, including feather and beak abnormalities, oculonasal discharge, increased respiratory rate or stridor, abdominal enlargement, pasty vent, diarrhea, lameness and pectoral muscle loss, were evaluated in our colony during this time. History, physical examination, laboratory testing and postmortem evaluation were used to determine causes of clinical disease. Common clinical findings in sick finches included sudden death, ruffled feathers, increased respiratory rate or gape mouthed breathing, pasty vent or frank diarrhea, and beak discoloration. Organisms frequently isolated were Staphylococcus spp., E. coli, Enterobacter spp., and Coccidia spp. Of the finches that died while in the colony (29.5%), 23.0% died in the first week after arrival. Pathogens frequently isolated from tissues cultured at necropsy included: E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Enterobacter spp., and Candida albicans. When observed, pathological lesions consisted of air sacculitis, fibrinopurulent polyserositis and ventriculitis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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