Multifocal respiratory and vertebral mycobacteriosis in a red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)

Miranda J. Sadar, David McRuer, Michelle G. Hawkins, Aníbal G. Armién

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


An adult, female, free-ranging red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) was presented to a rehabilitation facility for an inability to stand. On examination, it displayed bilateral exaggeration of the pelvic limb reflexes with extensor muscle rigidity, intact superficial pain response, and positive withdrawal reflexes. A complete blood count identified moderate leukocytosis characterized by moderate heterophilia. No abnormalities were appreciable on radiographic evaluation. After initial improvement, it regressed and was euthanized 27 days after presentation. Necropsy and histologic investigation identified reduction in the diameter of the vertebral canal and spinal cord at cervical segments 8-9 with coalescing granulomas and intralesional acid-fast bacilli within the intertrabecular space, left side of the clavicular air sac, and cranial left lung. Bacterial culture and genetic sequencing from respiratory lesions identified Mycobacterium avium avium. Real time-polymerase chain reaction of paraffin-fixed spinal tissue tested positive for M. avium complex. Mycobacteriosis should be considered when peripheral neurologic deficits are present in raptors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)150-154
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright 2015 by American Association of Zoo Veterinarians.


  • Avian
  • Buteo jamaicensis
  • Cervical vertebrae
  • Mycobacterium avium avium
  • Red-tailed hawk
  • Spinal


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