How to Diagnose Encephalitis in an Emu

Mosquitoes transmit several diseases that can be fatal to emus. Several of these diseases can cause inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) and other complications. Three of the most common diseases are West Nile Virus (WNV), Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and Western Equine Encephalitis (WEE). This article will tell you how to diagnose encephalitis in an emu.

Steps

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    Pay attention to every bird's eating habits. A lack of an appetite can be one of the first signs of illness.
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    Observe behavioral changes in your birds such as sleepiness, sluggish movements, or extreme agitation. Encephalitis can progress quickly in emus so the infected bird can become very sick before the first symptoms are even noticed.
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    Watch your emus for an unsteady gait, weakness or paralysis in various muscles, including the eyes. These symptoms can indicate brain swelling or disseminated intravascular coagulation (a clotting disorder), which is a manifestation of EEE.
    • Sick emus do not always show these neurological signs. It does not mean the bird is not sick if the signs listed above are not present.
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    Have blood tests done to diagnose a bird suspected of having encephalitis. Note that the blood tests available do not always detect the viruses in birds such as emus.
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    Watch the emus for diarrhea and vomiting. The diarrhea and vomit can get progressively worse. Bloodstained stool and vomit indicates an advanced infection.
    • You may also notice severe stumbling at this stage. The emu can collapse and refuse to stand again. It is usually too late to save the bird at this point.
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    Perform an autopsy on a deceased emu that showed symptoms or died suddenly. It might be the only way to definitively tell if an encephalitis virus killed it and which type.

Warnings

  • Emus are big and strong, and brain disease might make them behave unexpectedly.

Article Info

Categories: Farm Animals and Livestock