Page 650 - WSAVA2018
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 25-28 September, 2018 | Singapore
around perceived value; however these rules may not be socially acceptable. They eventually develop into behavioural problems and the bird becomes unable
to socially interact with people without fear or social framework, and therefore a series of displacement or defensive behaviours develop – aggression, biting, etc. As these behaviours develop, the bird may become even more isolated, and therefore become more vocal in trying to re-establish contact with their ‘flock’.
Megaesophagus (ME) is characterized by generalized dilatation of the esophagus. It is the most common cause of regurgitation and a common esophageal disease
in dogs. Causes of acquired megaesophagus include: idiopathic ME, myasthenia gravis (MG) - generalized or focal, esophagitis, endocrine diseases, toxicosis (e.g. lead). Less common causes include: other neurologic diseases (botulism, tetanus, dysautonomia, rabies), systemic lupus erythematosus
Clinical presentation:
Clinical signs consistent with esophageal disease include: regurgitation, dysphagia, swallowing attempts “on empty”, halitosis, ravenous appetite, tachypnea, dyspnea, cough, exercise intolerance, fever (in case of aspiration pneumonia)
Diagnostic approach:
The first step in the diagnostic approach is to rule
out esophageal obstruction (foreign body, stricture)
by taking a detailed history, and getting good quality thoracic radiographs. A generalized dilatation of the esophagus is usually easily identified on the thoracic films. Generalized dilatation is typically due to functional disease whereas segmental dilation is more commonly associated with foreign body, infiltrative disease (neoplasia or inflammation, hiatal diseases, segmental motor disease, stricture, ring anomaly and redundant esophagus. Radiographically, the dilated esophagus can be gas or fluid opaque depending on the disease process. Radiographic signs include visualization of
the esophagus, dilatation with gas, retention of food or fluid, tracheal stripe sign, ventral displacement of the intrathoracic trachea, and ventral displacement of the heart. In addition, it is important to carefully check for aspiration pneumonia in these patients.
The systematic approach is continued by screening animals for primary, underlying diseases associated
with secondary megaesophagus. A minimal database consisting of CBC, biochemistry panel (including serum creatine kinase) and urinalysis is recommended. Then, screening for endocrinopathies (resting cortisol or ACTH stimulation test, serum thyroxine and endogenous TSH), and search for opacities in the cranial mediastinum (looking for possible thymoma associated with myasthenia gravis [MG]) are recommended. A sensitive
F. Gaschen1
1Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine, Baton Rouge, LA USA
  And this is often reinforced when owners respond: the bird receives a positive response (e.g. talking, feeding, etc.), it may augment the behaviour; if, on the other hand, the bird receives a negative response (e.g. covering cage, time-out, water pistols) that response may augment the feeling of isolation, and the problem may worsen.
Unfortunately, these problems are often chronic by
the time the bird is presented to a veterinarian. Early recognition and treatment are much more likely to result in successful treatment; prevention through education of bird owners is a far more preferable approach. Techniques such incorporating behavioural training into annual wellness examinations are important steps in preventing problems, and should be pursued vigorously by all those involved in the wellbeing of companion parrots.

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