The ability of two in vivo tests to assay immune competence of mallard ducks (Anas platyrhynchos) treated with various immunomodulatory agents was examined. Skin responses to phytohemagglutinin-P (PHA-P) injected intradermally and serum antibody levels produced in response to sheep red blood cells (SRBC) were measured. As measured by the skin response to PHA-P, ducks injected intramuscularly with cyclophosphamide or cyclosporine did not respond differently from control-injected ducks. Dexamethasone injected intramuscularly significantly suppressed the skin response to PHA-P. As measured by antibody levels in response to SRBC, ducks injected intramuscularly with cyclophosphamide responded with antibody titers similar to controls. Cyclosporine injected intramuscularly reduced the level of immunoglobulin (Ig) G significantly in one of two experiments. Dexamethasone injected intramuscularly reduced peak total and IgG titers. These experiments provide information on the viability of these two in vivo tests to reflect immune competence of mallard ducks.
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Vol. 26 • No. 3