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Raptors: feather and skin diseases

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Abstract

As with all species, an understanding of what is normal, and what is not, is essential. Skin physiology is similar to that of other birds, but the moult does have an impact of the working raptor. This chapter looks at anatomy and physiology; approach to feather and skin cases; feather diseases; feather destructive disorders; skin diseases; and specific disorders.

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Figures

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24.1 Scaled skin of a Common Buzzard. Note that the superficial layer has been lost over part of it. This is a pathological lesion. White ‘crusts’ over the leg of an American Black Vulture. These are urate deposits caused by the bird urinating over its legs. This is a normal behaviour in New World vultures, and is believed to be linked to thermoregulation. (© John Chitty)
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24.5 Pinched-off feather. (© John Chitty)
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24.6 Advanced folliculitis with a granulating ulcerated lesion centred on the feather follicle. (© John Chitty)
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24.7 Plucking Harris’ Hawk showing typical distribution of plucking. (© John Chitty)
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24.8 Feather-chewing Northern Goshawk. Folliculitis was the cause after a crash-landing into dirty water during a hunting trip. was cultured from the follicles and the bird responded well to antibiosis. (© John Chitty)
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24.10 Epidermoptid mite infestation of a Peregrine Falcon. A topical solution of 1:50 invermectin:propylene glycol was applied to the lesions twice at monthly intervals. (© John Chitty)
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24.11 Tick reaction around the right eye of a Great Grey Owl. (© John Chitty)
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24.12 Pyoderma in two Harris’ Hawks. (© John Chitty)
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24.13 Squamous cell carcinoma in a Harris’ Hawk. This was secondary to long-standing pyoderma that initially responded to antibiosis. The lesion was located at the top of the leg. It is presumed that it resulted from chronic irritation from the skin infection, as biopsy samples taken early in the condition showed no evidence of neoplasia. (© John Chitty)
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24.14 Wingtip oedema and necrosis syndrome in a Harris’ Hawk. Note the oedematous fluid the feather follicles. Radiograph of WTONS in a different Harris’ Hawk. This is a very unusual case, as the swelling occurs around secondary as well as the primary feathers. The position of the fluid accumulations is obvious. The arrow indicates the position on P2 where erosive lesions may be found; this is an indicator of a poor prognosis, as this is where the necrotic wingtip will break off. (© John Chitty)
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24.15 Otitis in a Harris’ Hawk. Bacterial infection was apparent but the underlying cause was never established. (© John Chitty)

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