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concentration of 1.5 mg/dL in a dog with high muscle mass might be normal for the dog even of this value is above the reference range.
B. Doneley1
1Avian and Exotic Pet Medicine, The University of Queensland, Gatton, Queensland, Australia
Parrot chicks are altricial i.e. totally dependent on their parents (or hand rearer) for warmth, food and psychological development. This paper explores the normal development of psittacine chicks and the factors that impact this development. Understanding this development leads the clinician to a better understanding of the impact of disease (and its treatment) on these chicks.
Normal development
Chicks grow at a rapid rate until they begin to wean, at which time they peak their weight and then lose weight until they reach their adult weight and plateau. The weight and age will vary between species but the growth rate, expressed as a chart (see Figure 1) remains similar.
Figure 1. Growth rate graphs of two macaw species (from Abramson et al, 1996)
Prior to full feathering the normal chick’s skin should be pink or pink–yellow in colour, and soft and warm to the touch. Depending on the species, some chicks are hatched naked or with down feathers, which may be white, yellow or grey in colour. A second wave of down feather growth begins at 1–3 weeks of age and, sometimes, even later in some species.
Pin feathers begin to emerge at 2–3 weeks of age. The body contour feathers emerge over the shoulders first; the pattern of emergence after that varies between species, although usually the body contour feathers emerge at the same time or shortly before the secondary
Serum creatinine should be interpreted with additional markers of kidney function. Blood urea nitrogen is
a non-specific marker of kidney function, since it is influenced by multiple non renal parameters (e.g., dietary protein, gastrointestinal bleeding, catabolism, polyuria and polydipsia, dehydration, liver function), yet the urea to creatinine ratio should always be evaluated. For example, when the urea/creatinine ratio is increased, a potential reason might be decreased body mass, thus,
in this case, creatinine is likely underrepresents the decrease in kidney function. Another marker that can
be used in conjunction to serum creatinine, is symmetric dimethylarginine (SDMA). SDMA is a methylated form
of the amino acid arginine and is primarily eliminated through the kidneys by renal filtration and excretion (6), therefore it is a potential endogenous marker of GFR. SDMA is superior to creatinine since is it not influenced by muscle mass, thus these two markers should be used in conjunction.
Serum creatinine has multiple limitations, however, understanding renal physiology and its limitations improves its’ interpretation. There is a need for sensitive renal biomarkers that will facilitate the diagnosis of kidney diseases and will allow earlier intervention. Renal biomarkers that can identify kidney injury even in the absence of decreased kidney function will likely become available in the near future and have the potential to aid in the diagnosis of AKI and CKD.
1. Chertow GM, Burdick E, Honour M, Bonventre JV, Bates DW. Acute kidney injury, mortality, length of stay, and costs in hospitalized patients. J Am Soc Nephrol. 2005 Nov;16(11):3365-70.
2. Uchino S, Bellomo R, Bagshaw SM, Goldsmith D. Transient azotaemia is associated with a high risk of death in hospitalized patients. Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2010 Jan;25(6):1833-9.
3. Wald R, Quinn RR, Luo J, Li P, Scales DC, Mamdani MM, et al. Chronic dialysis and death among survivors of acute kidney injury requiring dialysis. Jama. 2009 Sep;302(11):1179-85.
4. Segev G, Daminet S, Meyer E, De Loor J, Cohen A, Aroch I, et al. Characterization of kidney damage using several renal biomarkers in dogs with naturally occurring heatstroke. Vet J. 2015 Nov;206(2):231-5.
5. Braun JP, Lefebvre HP, Watson AD. Creatinine in the dog: a review. Veterinary clinical pathology. 2003;32(4):162-79.
6. McDermott J. Studies on the catabolism of Ng-methylarginine, Ng, Ng- dimethylarginine and Ng, Ng-dimethylarginine in the rabbit. Biochemical Journal. 1976 Jan;154(1):179-84.
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