Cases of Interest

#1 Aspergillosis in a Quail

Signalment:
Adult male Japanese quail

History:
This quail was found dead in a cage with two other birds. There are approximately 100 birds in the flock, and no other birds have recently died. All birds have had beak trims (standard in the poultry industry) to prevent intraspecies trauma.

Click image to enlargerarc_mouse rarc_mouse

Gross necropsy findings:

  1. Depletion of body fat stores
  2. Partial loss of lower beak with local cellulitis
  3. Multiple granulomas in the heart
  4. Testicular atrophy

Histopathological findings:

  1. Granulomatous cellulitis of the lower beak with Aspergillus hyphae
  2. Widespread Aspergillus infection in the heart, crop, ventriculus, liver, muscle, and lung

Comment:
This case is unusual in that Aspergillus infections in birds are usually centered on the respiratory tract. It is believed that beak trimming of this bird allowed entry of Aspergillus, which then spread through the gastrointestinal tract and into the muscles, including the heart. The massive infection led to death. Aspergillus is a common fungus found everywhere in the environment, and animals that are immunocompromised are more susceptible to infection. Treatment is difficult and expensive in birds and other animals; prevention is best achieved by sanitary housing conditions. In this particular bird, the fungus took hold in many organs over a period of time, and led to both loss of body fat and secondary testicular atrophy.