Pathobiologic characteristics were determined for three mildly pathogenic (MP) ratite-origin avian influenza viruses (AIVs). Ratite-origin AIVs produced respiratory disease in rheas, and virus was reisolated from oropharyngeal and cloacal swabs on days 2-6 postinoculation. Inoculation of two ratite-origin AIVs in the upper respiratory tract of chickens resulted in viral infections, but the mean chicken infectious…

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A 2-week-old emu chick (Dromaius novaehollandiae) of approximately 200 g body weight was presented for necropsy with a history of weakness, diarrhea, pallor of the head, and acute death. Hemorrhagic enteritis with mild hepatomegaly was noted on gross examination. Microscopic examination revealed necrohemorrhagic enteritis with intralesional intranuclear basophilic viral inclusion bodies in intestinal epithelial cells;…

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When exposed to high ambient temperatures, birds defend body temperature by increasing evaporative water loss, via either respiratory or cutaneous water loss. Water deprivation can lead to changes in thermal responses and lower levels of water use for thermoregulation. We have studied the effect of 2-3 wk of water deprivation on the physiological responses of…

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Seasonal breeding is associated with sequential increases in plasma luteinizing hormone (LH) and prolactin in the short-day breeding emu, and in long-day breeding birds that terminate breeding by the development of reproductive photorefractoriness. A model of the avian neuroendocrine photoperiodic reproductive response is proposed, incorporating a role for prolactin, to account for neuroendocrine mechanisms controlling…

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Cardiovascular variables were studied as a function of oxygen consumption in the emu, a large, flightless ratite bird well suited to treadmill exercise. At the highest level of exercise, the birds’ rate of oxygen consumption (VO2) was approximately 11.4 times the resting level (4.2 ml kg-1 min-1). Cardiac output was linearly related to VO2, increasing…

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Emu eggs weigh approximately 600 g and have an incubation duration (ID) of approximately 50 days. The egg mass is approximately 10-fold heavier than the chicken egg and the ID is approximately 2.5-fold longer. Daily changes in mean heart rate (MHR) of emu embryos were previously determined, but further measurement was needed to investigate the…

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DNA-based sex tests now exist for many avian species. However, none of these tests are widely applicable to ratites. We present DNA sequence data for a locus that is W chromosome-linked in the kiwi, ostrich, cassowary, rhea, and emu. At the amino acid level, this sequence has significant homology to X-linked genes in platyfish and…

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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…

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From May 1992 through October 1994, sera were collected from 204 domestic emus (Dromaius novaehollandiae) at a ranch in Volusia County, FL, and tested for antibody evidence of arboviral infection. Hemagglutination-inhibition (HI) and neutralizing (NT) antibodies to eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) virus were identified in sera collected during each year. In addition, HI and NT…

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Eastern equine encephalomyelitis (F.EE) virus was detected in infected formalin-fixed horse and emu tissues and in infected chicken embryo fibroblasts. Results of in situ hybridization using a digoxigenin-labeled 40-base DNA probe complementary to a conserved region of the EEE virus RNA compared favorably with results of both virus isolation and serum neutralization tests. This technique…

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