During an avian cholera epornitic, between December 1982 and January 1983, 58 dead, 23 sick, and 106 hunter-killed lesser snow geese (Chen caerulescens caerulescens) were collected at Delevan National Wildlife Refuge, Colusa County, California, USA. Fifty-one of the dead and sick geese were infected with Pasteurella multocida. Lead concentrations in the livers ranged from <1 to 253 parts per million (ppm) (dry weight). Lead concentrations in the kidneys ranged from <1 ppm to 547 ppm (dry weight). Snow geese with >30 ppm lead, considered diagnostic of acute lead poisoning, had significantly (P < 0.05) lower heart weights and a smaller band of heart fat, compared to geese with tissue lead concentrations of <30 ppm. Tissue lead concentrations in geese dying from avian cholera generally were lower than concentrations in hunter-killed geese, but the differences were not significant for either kidney (P = 0.08) or liver (P = 0.30) tissue.
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Vol. 29 • No. 4