Macrorhabdus ornithogaster Infection and Spontaneous Proventricular Adenocarcinoma in Budgerigars ( Melopsittacus undulatus)

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Proventricular infection with the anamorphic, ascomycetous yeast Macrorhabdus ornithogaster and disease associated with infection (macrorhabdiosis) have been widely reported in budgerigars ( Melopsittacus undulatus). Proventricular adenocarcinoma has also been previously reported in this species. In a retrospective archival search of clinical cases submitted to a zoo animal and exotic pet pathology service between 1998 and 2013, a total of 28 128 avian submissions were identified, which included 1006 budgerigars kept in zoos or aviaries or as pets. Of these budgerigars, 177 were identified histologically as infected with M. orthithogaster at the time of necropsy. Histologic examination of tissues from budgerigars infected with M. orthithogaster identified an apparent continuum in the development of proventricular isthmus lesions associated with M. ornithogaster that included inflammation, mucosal hyperplasia, glandular dysplasia, and adenocarcinoma. Proventricular adenocarcinoma was identified histologically in 21 budgerigars. Budgerigars with proventricular adenocarcinoma were significantly more likely to have macrorhabdiosis than budgerigars without proventricular adenocarcinoma. Based on odds ratios for archival data, budgerigars were 41 times (95% confidence interval [CI], 33-52) more likely to have macrorhabdiosis than other avian species and 19 times (95% CI, 11-33) more likely to have proventricular adenocarcinoma than other birds. Budgerigars were 323 times (95% CI, 42-2490) more likely to be affected by both diseases simultaneously compared with other avian species. These findings suggest that macrorhabdiosis may be an associated factor for proventricular adenocarcinoma, although the explanation for this statistically significant correlation remains unknown and further investigation is warranted.

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Veterinary pathology

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