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Avian Dis.: cluster of atherosclerosis in a captive population of black kites (Milvus migrans subsp.) in France and effect of nutrition on the plasma lipid profile.

From January 2010 to March 2013, a captive colony of 83 black kites (Milvus migrans subsp.) in France experienced increased mortality related to atherosclerosis with an incidence of 4.4% per year. On histopathology, all kites had advanced atherosclerotic lesions, with several birds presenting abdominal hemorrhage and aortic rupture. In January 2012, a dietary change was instituted and consisted of introducing fish into the kites' diet. During the following 15 months, the plasma lipid profile was monitored as well as body weight, food offered, and flight activity. Total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol initially increased, but in December 2012 and March 2013, an overall decrease from initial values was observed. High density lipoprotein cholesterol also increased during this period. Despite positive plasma lipid changes induced by dietary modifications, there was no decrease in mortality from atherosclerosis, which was probably associated with the severity of the atherosclerotic lesions at time of dietary management. However, owing to the long and progressive development of atherosclerotic lesions, long-term beneficial effects are probable. This report suggests that black kites are particularly susceptible to atherosclerosis and aortic dissection in captivity. To prevent degenerative diseases associated with captivity in birds of prey, species-specific lifestyle and dietary requirements and susceptibility to these diseases should be considered.


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Author:Facon, C.; Beaufrere, H.; Gaborit, C.
Publication:Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:4EUFR
Date:Jun 1, 2014
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