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Developing a Tool to Detect Illness in Raptors without Clinical Signs

Techniques for monitoring the health of avian patients, especially raptors, are limited, and early detection of many conditions is often difficult because birds exhibit minimal behavioral changes until they are severely ill. Acute-phase proteins produced by the liver in response to inflammatory stimuli are becoming increasingly important in the evaluation and treatment of mammalian diseases but have rarely been applied to birds. The researchers of this study believe inflammatory markers can be used to distinguish injured or infected raptors from healthy birds before they exhibit signs of illness. They hope to develop a panel of inflammatory markers measured in peripheral blood of red-tailed hawks to help assess disease conditions in raptors and allow earlier detection of health problems.

Dr. Lisa Tell, University of California–Davis

Co-sponsor: The Van Sloun Foundation