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Proventricular Dilatation Disease

Bird Paradise June 10, 2006
Dr. Branson W. Ritchie, DVM, Ph.D, Dipl. ABVP - Avian, Dipl. ECAMS
Proventricular Dilatation Disease
First reported in the late 1970’s
Epornities in US, Canada, and Europe
Over 50 species of Psittacines susceptible
PDD – Not just for Psittacines Anymore
Free-ranging Geese
Free-ranging and Captive Spoonbills
Honey Creeper
Passing undigested or poorly digested foods
Ataxia, seizures, paresis
Diagnostic Aids
Contrast Radiographs for GI Dilatation and Slowed Emptying Time
Proventricular Dilatation
It’s not PDD until your pathologist gives you a histologic diagnosis of Lymphoplasmacytic Ganglioneuritis
Crop or Proventricular Biopsy for Antemortem Diagnosis
Take an eraser sized biopsy that includes blood vessels
Diagnostic Aids
Lymphoplasmacytic Ganglionitis
IS diagnostic

Lymphoplasmacytic Enteritis
Lymphoplasmacytic Ingluvitis
Proventricular Dilatation Disease
Bacterial Gastroenteritis
Fungal Gastroenteritis
Any Intra or Extraluminal mass
ex: Leather impaction
80 n m Enveloped Particles Recovered from Naturally & Experimentally Infected Birds
Suspect viral nucleic acid sequence bound to cells adjacent to inflammed areas of the brain!
Virus-like particles inside cell from area that was probe positive!
Assay performed well in research birds, but was problematic in field trials!
2001, established 2 breeding pairs of cockatiels
in pair A – the cock was PDD positive
in pair B – the hen was PDD positive
Data derived from natural and experimental PDD transmission
Concerning with respect to the number of birds that are sub-clinically infected, and presumably shedding the PDD agent!

Raised by Donor Aviculturist
Male hatched in 96
Female hatched in 97
Normal clutches from 1999 to mid 2001
Severity of Histologic Lesions MAY NOT Correlate with Disease Progression or Prognosis

Cock – minimal focal LP Ganglionitis in 2001
Died in January, 2004

Hen – Severe multifocal LP Ganglionitis in 2001
Still stable and reproducing

PAIR A (PDD positive cock)
Produced 5 fertile eggs
2 dead in shell and 3 hatched
Attempted experimental transmission in chicks
Inoculated chicks intraorally, intranasally, intraocularly, and intramuscularly with tissue homogenates from PDD positive birds
Approximately 10 weeks after first inoculation

One chick was depressed, developed progressive ataxia and was euthanized
bird died from bacterial septicemia
Thought provoking findings?
Chick was PDD negative even though it was raised by a PDD cock!
PDD reported in a 28 day old chick
Yet this cockatiel was negative at ~ 80 days old
In Our Adult Transmission Studies, we have documented incubation period of 10 days to 3 months
Findings support our theory that many infected birds remain sub-clinical, develop an immune response and clear the virus!
Used 3.5mm magnifying loops to make skin incision over left lateral crop with 20 g needle
5-0 PDS Suture passed at cranial edge of biopsy site
consistent vascular plexus was site of each biopsy
Out of 12 chicks
1 chick died from sepsis – PDD negative despite being produced and raised by PDD + cock
3 chicks died from PDD – 2 naturally-acquired and 1 experimentally-infected
3 chicks clinically normal and PDD +
1 chick clinically normal with Igluvitis
1 chick clinically diseased that is crop biopsy neg.
1 chick with weight loss that is PDD +
Review of Important Clinical Data
Confirmed disease transmission in control setting
Transmission and disease progression unpredictable even with intimate/prolonged contact
Gastric Motility (Radiography) may not correlate with histologic changes in crop,
particularly during sub-clinical phase of disease
Histologic lesions in the crop may be segmental and multiple step sections
maybe be necessary to confirm a diagnosis
Isolate, don’t euthanize exposed sub-clinical birds
Prevent Transmission
Fresh air and sunlight
Birds with GI form can survive for years when provided easily digested diets
Isolate positive birds
Birds improve when treated with Interferon, Antibiotics, Antifungals & Antiinflammatories
Several antivirals improve condition experimentally, but danger of resistance
given that mammals may be susceptible

Dr. Ritchie earns a salary from the University of Georgia, but ALL his funding is PRIVATELY funded!  So for his research to continue, and for us to find a cure for PDD, it's important that everyone continues to donate.

Ways to Give to Dr. Ritchie's PDD Research
1) Contribute to Avian Health Network
The UGA administrative costs associated with donating any amounts are the same. So it is advantageous to contribute through Avian Health Network because they make several large contributions annually therefore maximizing the amount that actually goes to Dr. Ritchie for research.
2) You can donate to his PDD research online (please remember #1)
click on "How to give to the College of Veterinary Medicine"
"Make a Gift Online"
under Account, look for "Ritchie-Companion Animal Emerging Disease Fund"
3) You can write a check (please remember #1)
Make the check payable to the "Arch Foundation"
(the Arch Foundation of the official fundraising arm of UGA)
make sure under For on check: you put
"Ritchie-Companion Animal Disease-Bird" so that the money goes to Dr. Ritchie
4) Donate in honor of someone/some animal or as a memorial
In memory of Fido,
Companion Dog of
Mr & Mrs. John Jones
456 Their Street
Great Town, MD 12345
5) Auto Bank Draft or Regular Credit Card Gifts
For monthly gifts deducted from your checking account our your credit card
Complete form noting Ritchie-Companion Animal Emerging Disease Research Fund
Mail To Kathy Bangel (address at end)
minimum of $25
(transcribed by a volunteer of Wings of Hope from photos of Dr. Ritchie's slides)
Permission given by Dr. Ritchie to do this.