Encephalomalacia associated with vitamin E deficiency in commercially raised emus.




Avian Dis. 1998 Jul-Sep;42(3):600-5.

Thirteen of 64 emus on a commercial emu farm in Ohio exhibited neurological signs that included backward staggering, incoordination, generalized weakness, and sitting on their hocks with head retracted backward. Eight of the birds showing such signs were found dead. Two of these emus were necropsied, and no significant gross lesions were observed. Major histopathological lesions were found in the cerebellum and included multiple malacic foci in association with neuropil rarefaction and astrogliosis within the white matter of folia. In addition, the hepatic vitamin E level of one emu was determined at the Michigan State University Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory (MSU-AHDL) to be 14.61 micrograms/g dry weight. This vitamin E level was in the lower percentile (35%) of 30 emu liver samples examined at MSU-AHDL. A diagnosis of vitamin E-associated encephalomalacia was made based on clinical signs, gross and histological lesions, and liver vitamin E levels.