An uncontrolled clinical study was conducted to evaluate the efficacy of a multidrug protocol in 16 ring-neck doves (Streptopelia risoria) from a flock naturally infected with Mycobacterium avium subsp avium. The doves were considered infected on the basis of a high prevalence of infection in a group of 29 birds that were euthanatized from the same flock and clinical signs and pathologic results consistent with infection in the remaining birds. All birds were treated with azithromycin (43 mg/kg), rifampin (45 mg/kg), and ethambutol (30 mg/kg) administered orally once daily for 180 days. Five birds died during treatment and were confirmed positive for mycobacteriosis on postmortem examination. Of the remaining 11 birds, infection and disease were present in 9 (81.8%) at the end of the treatment. Postmortem investigation showed that 2 mycobacterial isolates were resistant to ethambutol, intermediately sensitive to rifampin, and sensitive to azithromycin. Microscopic examination of liver sections equivalent of those that would be taken for biopsy showed that biopsy as a method of monitoring birds for treatment success had poor sensitivity. Toxicity associated with drug therapy was not observed in these doves nor in 6 outwardly healthy ring-neck doves exposed to the same treatment. The results of this study showed that this protocol of azithromycin, rifampin, and ethambutol has poor efficacy when administered for 180 days for treatment of doves infected with M avium subsp avium.
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