Rehabilitator’s Guide to Diagnostic Postmortem Examination and Gross Pathology in Waterfowl
Keywords:Waterfowl, postmortem, necropsy, wildlife rehabilitator, wildlife
Disease monitoring of wild populations gives wildlife professionals and policy–makers valuable information about the health of ecosystems, wild animal populations, and humans. The wildlife rehabilitator is in a unique position to participate in disease monitoring by caring for a random sampling of wild animals presented for care. By detecting infectious disease, wildlife rehabilitators not only are able to protect their facility and hospitalized patients from the introduction of an infectious pathogen, but also are able to assist with wildlife population management. For this reason, it is important for wildlife rehabilitators to be familiar with clinical signs indicative of infectious disease. As migratory species, waterfowl may be useful sentinels for infectious disease outbreaks. Definitive diagnosis of an infectious etiology may be unattainable until the demise of the animal, making postmortem examination essential. Wildlife rehabilitators can become familiar with the normal appearance of internal organs and submit fresh and fixed tissues for further testing, which is less expensive than sending entire birds for necropsy. Necropsy techniques and a few common conditions (botulism, avian cholera, avian influenza, and duck plague) are described.
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