Pancreatitis in wild zinc-poisoned waterfowl

Avian Pathology
By: , and 



Four waterfowl were collected in the TriState Mining District (Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri, USA), an area known to be contaminated with lead, cadmium and zinc (Zn). They were part of a larger group of 20 waterfowl collected to determine the exposure of birds to metal contamination at the site. The four waterfowl (three Branta canadensis, one Anas platyrhynchos) had mild to severe degenerative abnormalities of the exocrine pancreas, as well as tissue (pancreas, liver) concentrations of Zn that were considered toxic. The mildest condition was characterized by generalized atrophy of exocrine cells that exhibited cytoplasmic vacuoles and a relative lack of zymogen. The most severe condition was characterized by acini with distended lumens and hyperplastic exocrine tissue that completely lacked zymogen; these acini were widely separated by immature fibrous tissue. Because the lesions were nearly identical to the lesions reported in chickens and captive waterfowl that had been poisoned with ingested Zn, and because the concentrations of Zn in the pancreas and liver of the four birds were consistent with the concentrations measured in Zn-poisoned birds, we concluded that these waterfowl were poisoned by Zn. This may be the first reported case of zinc poisoning in free-ranging wild birds poisoned by environmental Zn.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Pancreatitis in wild zinc-poisoned waterfowl
Series title Avian Pathology
DOI 10.1080/03079450310001636246
Volume 32
Issue 6
Year Published 2003
Language English
Publisher Taylor and Francis
Contributing office(s) National Wildlife Health Center, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description 6 p.
First page 655
Last page 660
Country United States
State Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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