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Internal and external parasitic infections in captive psittacine birds
  1. B. Bernardi, DVM1,
  2. G. Fichi, DVM, PhD2,
  3. R. Finotello, DVM, PhD1,3 and
  4. S. Perrucci, DVM, PhD, Dipl EVPC1
  1. 1Dipartimento di Scienze Veterinarie-University of Pisa, Viale delle Piagge 2, Pisa 56124, Italy
  2. 2Istituto Zooprofilattico delle Regioni Lazio e Toscana, S.S. dell'Abetone e del Brennero 4, Pisa 56123, Italy
  3. 3Small Animal Teaching Hospital, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK
  1. E-mail for correspondence: perrucci{at}

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Parakeets and parrots can be infected by several parasitic species that may be either primary or opportunistic pathogens and may be responsible for mild or severe clinical forms of disease (Greiner and Ritchie 1994, Doneley 2009). Some psittacine parasitic species are host specific, while others can infect a wide range of animals—including humans (Tsai and others 1992, Fayer 2010). The main aim of this study was the evaluation of the prevalence of ectoparasites and endoparasites in captive psittacine birds living in Italy.

Materials and methods

In the period 2004–2007, 573 randomly selected captive psittacine birds of 47 different species living in Italy were examined. In this prospective survey all animals, including 450 farmed and 123 pet psittacines, were screened for endoparasites, while 196 farmed and 25 pet birds were examined also for ectoparasites. For endoparasites, fresh individual faecal samples were analysed by flotation test, a commercial immunoassay (RIDAQUICK Cryptosporidium/Giardia Combi cassettes, R-Biopharm, Italy) and by Giemsa and modified Ziehl Neelsen stained faecal smears. In addition, a deceased Platycercus elegans and a deceased Ara chloroptera were necropsied and examined for gross lesions and parasites. Isolated nematodes were identified at the species level (Levine 1968, Kajerova and others 2004a, b).

Species of collected ectoparasites were also identified (Krantz 1978, Atyeo and Gaud 1987, Mironov and Galloway 2002, Schmaschke and others 2002, Sychra and others 2007, Di Palma and others …

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