The parakeet auklet (Aethia psittacula) is a piscivorous seabird with a natural diet of various invertebrate and teleost species, which is challenging to replicate in a managed collection. A high prevalence of early onset cataracts was observed in a managed collection of parakeet auklets at the North Carolina Zoo (Asheboro, NC, USA), which was hypothesized to be related to inappropriate vitamin A and E levels. From 1994 to 2002, these parakeet auklets were offered dietary supplementation comprising Vita-Zu small bird tablets. In June 2002, the birds were transitioned to only Thiamin-E paste (vitamin E and thiamin only). Plasma samples were collected from birds with and without cataracts from 1998 to 2005 and submitted for vitamin A (retinol) and vitamin E (α-tocopherol) analysis. Food items comprising the birds' diet were also evaluated for vitamin content. This information was combined with clinical and necropsy data from medical records from 1994 to 2015. A total of 78% of birds (39/50) developed cataracts, with a median age of onset of 7 years (range, 2–12 years). Cataracts ranged from incipient to hypermature during both routine ophthalmic examinations and postmortem evaluations. The median (range) of plasma retinol and α-tocopherol values were 1.99 µg/mL (0.20–6.68 µg/mL) and 15.39 µg/mL (3.40–96.27 µg/mL), respectively. There were no significant differences in plasma concentrations of vitamins based on the animals' sex, origin, presence of cataracts, or administered vitamin supplementation product. No other etiologies for cataract development were identified in the population. Further research in free-ranging parakeet auklet nutrition and cataract occurrence is warranted for continued species collection management.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.