Retrospective review of the pathology of American pikas

Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation
By: , and 



American pikas (Ochotona princeps) are small lagomorphs that live in mountainous talus areas of western North America. Studies on the histopathology of American pikas are limited. We summarize here the clinical histories, and gross and histologic findings of 12 American pikas, including 9 captive (wild-caught) and 3 wild animals. Death was often attributed to stress (transport, handling, anesthesia) with few-to-no premonitory clinical signs. Infection was the cause of death in 2 cases: 1 had bacterial pyogranulomatous dermatitis, cellulitis, and lymphadenitis with sepsis; the other case had oomycete-induced necrotizing colitis. Incidental parasitic infections included sarcocystosis, nematodosis (oxyurids), and ectoparasitism. Most animals with adequate nutritional status had periportal hepatic lipidosis; this finding was absent in all animals with adipose atrophy, and it is possible that periportal hepatic lipidosis is non-pathologic in American pikas. Three cases had myocardial necrosis that was considered the cause of death; the cause of necrosis was not determined, but it may have been caused by stress or vitamin E–selenium deficiency. Esophageal hyperkeratosis was noted in animals with a history of anorexia and negative energy balance; accumulation of esophageal keratin can result from lack of mucosal abrasion by ingesta. Several histologic findings that are likely normal in American pikas include splenic extramedullary hematopoiesis, thymic tissue in adults, and Clostridium sp. in the enteric lumen.
Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Retrospective review of the pathology of American pikas
Series title Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation
DOI 10.1177/10406387241256907
Edition Online First
Year Published 2024
Language English
Publisher Sage
Contributing office(s) National Wildlife Health Center
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