A trumpeter swan (Cygnus buccinator) was observed near a mill pond in Picher, Oklahoma, USA. It became weakened and emaciated after about 1 mo, was captured with little resistance, and taken into captivity for medical care. Serum chemistry results were consistent with hepatic, renal, and muscular damage. Serum zinc concentration was elevated at 11.2 parts per million (ppm). The swan was treated for suspected heavy-metal poisoning, but died overnight. Gross postmortem findings were emaciation and pectoral muscle atrophy. Histopathologic lesions in the pancreas included mild diffuse disruption of acinar architecture, severe diffuse depletion or absence of zymogen granules, occasional apoptotic bodies in acinar epithelial cells, and mild interstitial and capsular fibrosis. Zinc concentration in pancreas was 3,200 ppm wet weight, and was similar to that reported in the pancreases of waterfowl known to be killed by zinc toxicity. Zinc concentrations in liver (154 ppm) and kidneys (145 ppm) also were elevated. Acute tubular necrosis of the collecting tubules of the kidneys was also possibly due to zinc toxicity. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first confirmed case of zinc poisoning in a trumpeter swan associated with mining wastes.
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Vol. 40 • No. 4