Clinical and pathologic evaluation of chorioretinal lesions in wild owl species.

PubMed ID: 34590771

Author(s): Keenan AV, Oster S, McMullen RJ Jr, Shaw GC, Dubielzig RR, Teixeira LBC, Bellah JR, Moore PA, Boveland SD. Clinical and pathologic evaluation of chorioretinal lesions in wild owl species. Vet Ophthalmol. 2021 Sep 29. doi: 10.1111/vop.12942. [Epub ahead of print] PMID 34590771

Journal: Veterinary Ophthalmology, Sep 2021

OBJECTIVE Investigate histopathology and spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (OCT) imaging of wild owls with chorioretinitis and identify any potential correlation with an infectious etiology.

MATERIALS AND METHODS Ophthalmic examination and retinal OCT imaging were performed on fifteen great horned (Strix varia) and barred (Bubo virginianus) owls (30 eyes) with chorioretinitis and five owls with normal eyes (10 eyes). Testing to investigate the presence of potential infectious diseases included a complete blood count, biochemistry, protein electrophoresis, West Nile virus (WNV) plaque reduction neutralization test, Toxoplasma gondii modified direct agglutination test, WNV RT-PCR, and Avian Influenza RT-PCR. A necropsy was performed on all owls, including ocular histopathology.

RESULTS Fundus lesions included retinal detachment (7/15 owls), depigmented lesions (12/15), pigment clumping (8/15), and retinal tear (4/15). All birds were negative for WNV and Avian Influenza on RT-PCR. Of the owls with chorioretinitis, 3/15 were seropositive for WNV and 7/15 for T. gondii. Optical coherence tomography of 25/30 affected eyes revealed outer retinal lesions (19/25 eyes), retinal detachment (16/25), and retinal tears (3/25). Histopathological examination revealed outer nuclear layer atrophy (19/30 eyes), retinal detachment (18/30), retinal tears (7/30), suprachoroidal hemorrhage (12/30), scleral rupture (3/30), and ossicle fracture (3/30).

CONCLUSIONS Although 20% of birds were seropositive for WNV and 46.6% for T. gondii, histopathologic findings supported that the posterior segment lesions in the study group were likely due to blunt ocular trauma rather than an infectious etiology. The results of OCT imaging and histopathology documented retinal changes most consistent with blunt ocular trauma.

© 2021 American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists.