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Evaluation of Giardiasis in Companion Birds in Mashhad, Iran


Introduction:Giardia spp. are parasitic protozoans that infect the digestive system of ornamental birds, especially in Psittaciformes, with different prevalence in various species. Symptomsof Giardia infection vary from no noticeable signs in adult birds to poor growth, weakness, anorexia, ruffled feathers, and diarrhea in chicks. This study aimed to evaluate the prevalence of giardiasis in some parrots referred to a private veterinary clinic in Mashhad during 2022.Case report:Feces of 215 birds suspected of being infected with Giardiaspp. were collected. The birds were visited at one of the clinics in Mashhad, Iran, in 2022. Wet smear was prepared from their fresh feces and then sent to the laboratory department of the clinic for diagnosis. The parrots included adult cockatiels, cockatiel chicks, lovebirds, African grey parrots, and Green-cheeked parakeets. After the final diagnosis, metronidazole was administered orally at a dosage of 50milligrams per kilogram of body weight every 12 hours for 5 consecutivedays. Sick birds were tested again after the treatment to confirm they were parasite-free. The obtained results of the laboratory indicated 60 positive Cockatiels (47.6%), 10 positivecockatiel chicks (43.4%), 4 positive lovebirds (14.2%), 2 Green-cheeked parakeets (8.6%), and only 1 positive African grey parrot (6.6%). Among the positive cases, the severity of infection varied, with some birds showing severe, moderate, or mild infection levels. Upon a second examination, birds with mild and moderate contamination were found to be disease-free, while those with severe contamination required further treatment. Conclusion:The results suggested that treatment with metronidazole for 5 consecutive days was effective against mild to moderate infection in sick parrots. However, birds with severe conditions need to continue the treatment procedure.

1. Introduction:

Giardiaspp.are parasitic protozoans of the digestive system with varingprevalence rates in differentspecies of ornamental birds and are common in wild and captive birds1,2. Different species of Giardiaknown in birdsareG. psittaci, G. duodenalis, and G. ardeae3. Giardia psittaciand G. ardeaeare specific to birds and not transmissible to humans4. Giardiasis in ornamental birds has been reported mainly in parrots, including cockatiels (Nymphicus hollandicus), lovebirds (Agapornis), budgerigars (Melopsittacus undulates), and African grey parrots (Pssitacus erithacus)5. Giardiasis is a common parasitic disease in cockatiels and parakeets, but most infected birds, such as adult cockatiels and budgerigars,are asymptomatic carriers6. Giardia spp. is one of the common causes of weakness and lethargy in ornamental psittaciformes, especially in breeding centers. The most effective way to prevent disease is to maintain cage hygiene in breeding centers and prevent direct contact of birds withfeces7.

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