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Diagnostic value of plasma biochemistry, haematology, radiography and endoscopic visualisation for hepatic disease in psittacine birds
  1. Cher Shi-Yee Hung,
  2. Izidora Sladakovic and
  3. Stephen J Divers
  1. Department of Small Animal Medicine and Surgery (Zoological Medicine), University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, Athens, Georgia, USA
  1. Correspondence to Professor Stephen J Divers; sdivers{at}


Background Hepatic disease in psittacine birds is common but challenging to diagnose. This retrospective study evaluates the diagnostic value of plasma biochemistry, haematology, radiography and endoscopic visualisation in psittaciforms with suspected hepatic disease that underwent endoscopic liver biopsy.

Methods Clinical records of 28 companion psittaciforms from a veterinary teaching hospital (2007–2016) were reviewed. Diagnostic results were categorised as abnormal or normal and compared with histopathology for agreement or disagreement. Statistical significance was determined by kappa test for agreement and McNemar’s test for disagreement.

Results 11 of 28 psittaciforms (39.3 per cent) had clinical signs considered specific for liver disease. 25 of 28 (89.3 per cent) psittaciforms had histopathological liver lesions. Gross changes radiographically and endoscopically agreed with histopathology in 57.1 per cent and 53.6 per cent of cases, respectively. Aspartate aminotransferase (AST) (48.1 per cent), creatine phosphokinase (73.1 per cent) and albumin by protein electrophoresis (50 per cent) showed the highest agreement. Kappa was not significant for any parameters, while McNemar’s test for disagreement was significant for radiography, endoscopy, AST, lactate dehydrogenase, bile acid, total protein (chemistry), cholesterol, triglycerides, uric acid and glucose.

Conclusion Overall, changes on plasma biochemistry, radiography or endoscopy are non-specific and do not consistently agree with histopathology results. Endoscopic liver biopsy is highly recommended if there is clinical suspicion of hepatic disease.

  • hepatic disease
  • liver
  • psittacine
  • endoscopy
  • diagnostics
  • psittaciform
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  • Funding Pamela de Journo Fund funded the study.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval Since only data from existing medical records were used, no approval from animal welfare committees was required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Data are available in a public, open access repository.

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