University of Queensland, Australia

Cochlosoma Infections in Finches

Written by Prof PJ Donoghue Avian Health Queensland University Australia


aSchool of Veterinary Science and bDepartment of Parasitology, The University of Queensland, Queensland 4072

Objective To survey finches in pet shops for Cochlosoma infection and evaluate the efficacy of antiprotozoal therapy with metronidazole or ronidazole.

Design A survey of pet shop finches and drug efficacy trials.

Procedure Finches in pet shops were randomly selected and their faeces examined microscopically for motile Cochlosoma sp trophozoites. Drug trials were carried out on 60 adult finches with naturally occurring infections. Body weight was measured and the faeces of each bird was examined for trophozoites at the beginning and 7 days after the end of treatment. In some birds, additional daily faecal examinations were done until three consecutive negative results were obtained. Metronidazole was administered at various dose rates by crop gavage or in drinking water to eight groups of five to ten finches each. Ronidazole was given in water for 7 days to ten finches. In addition, six finches whose faeces tested positive were necropsied and their tissues collected for histological examination.


Results Motile flagellates in the faeces were identified as C anatis-like protozoa. Red-headed parrot-finches, Bengalese and Lady Gould finches were found to be most commonly infected. Cochlosoma sp was also found in the blue-faced parrot-finch, zebra finch painted finch, nutmeg mannikin and double-barred finch. Metronidazole and ronidazole were found to be effective against Cochlosoma sp. Histological findings on infected adult finches were normal, except for the presence of numerous flagellates between the colorectal villi and cloacal mucosal folds.


Conclusions Cochlosoma anatis-like organisms can infect several species of finches and in adult finches are confined to the colorectum and cloaca. Infection in adult finches was mostly subclinical and could be treated effectively with metronidazole or ronidazole.