WBC extremly elevated, bone marrow gone mad?

Hi, this is a long story...

Female lutino budgie, 3 years old. First symptom was 1,5 years ago - weight loss, tired, eating alot, sometimes throwing up and passing undigested seeds. Got better when fed oat soaked in water over night with a dash of rape seed oil. Got better. Got back, got better and so on. Treated her with apple cider vineagar (suspected magabacteria) got better, saw an avian vet, grams stains from crop an feaces came back negative, she got vitamin injections (A, D, E + B1, B6, B12) got better, stayed well for 5-6 months and then again; tired, weight loss, ,eating a lot, sometimes throwing up and passing undigested seeds. Saw a vet again (not avian). WBC was poorly done and marked "plenty of smudge cells" total WBC 1000 monocytes 28% and therefore given Bactrim (trim+sulph), got stronger, gained weight, got well! Converted to Harrison's high potency. New WBC to se that all was good, in May; 25 000!

Then two months later (july) I took the budgie to this true avian vet. WBC was 75 000. Monocytes 12 800, some toxic heterophiles, some immature heterophiles. Red blood cells looked normal, hematocrit was 45%. She was given vitamin injections as the year before and put on orally doxycycline for 45 days. Ten days after the last medicine given, this week accullay, new WBC was taken. Smudge cells. WBC is now 84 000. Monocytosis. Many of the monocytes looks immature as do many red blood cells. Hematocrit 40%. The vet took pictures of the smear and has sent them to other vets around the world for help in assesment of the WBC and diff. Never seen so high WBC and odd diff for a budgie! My vet thinks that this is neoplasia, that her bone marrow has gone mad. Infection is not at all likley he says. Due to X-rays showing slow bowel movments and crop emptying, it could be borna virus, polyomavirus? That is treatable with NSAID and motility stimulants he says. However, that is not really what the WBC says.

I can't get this straight! Why has her bone marrow suddenly gone mad? Has is it really? Why was noting suscpeted on the former WBC? Shouldn't it had been seen if it was so? All cells except a few heterophils were mature! The WBC has changed so strangley.. Tell me about WBC and avian heamatology!

Have you any input on this? What is this with the bone marrow? Can you tell me of this condition called neoplasia?

Comments for WBC extremly elevated, bone marrow gone mad?

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Nov 06, 2013
here is the WBC and differentials
by: Anonymous

Hi again!

Thank you so much for the reply!

Just yesterday my vet called me. They now found a laboratory that was sure of what they saw on the blood slides from 10th september. My vet - VERY experienced, as I said was thinking these extremly elevated WBC's and the immature looking monocytes and erytrocytes must be thought of as cancer as it didn't respond to doxycycline, in his oppinion these extreme WBC's without Clinical signs are parrot fever. I have asked about aspergillos and mycobateriosis and my vet says there should be Clinical signs or X-ray findings to support that theory and there isn't! so he says no, it is not aspergillosis nor is it mycobacteriosis. Laboratorys in the USA wasn't sure of what they saw but this lab i Germany says they are sure - all cells looks OK!

Here are the labs:
17th of april this year (avian lab 1)
Clinically very ill bird
WBC totals 1000
Hets 60%
Lymf 10%
Monocytes 28%
Eosin 2%
note: PLENTY of smudge cells

21st of may this year (avian lab 1)
Clinically doing very well and gained weight, sample taken 3,5 weeks after last dose of 10 day treatment with Bactrim
WBC 26 500
hets 68%
lymfs 28%
monocytes 3%
eosin 1%
no notes on morphology

16th of july (avian lab 2)
clinically a Little tired
WBC 75400
hets 58 000
immature hets 2300
some toxic hets
lyms 2300
monocytes 12 800
hematocrit 45%
red morphology is normal, no other notes

10th of september (avian lab 2 + German lab)
clinically rather tired. sample taken 10 Days after the last dose of doxycyline a 45 Days long treatment
WBC 87 400
hets 63%
monocytes 23%
hematocrit 40%

and as I mentioned above; normal looking White and red blood cells.

I have insisted on Bactrim as it made her better in april so she has now been on a Three weeks treatment and is better.

So what can you say on the WBC's?

So now what? my vet Thinks it could be an abcess in the abdomen that is leaking out bacteria now and then. He wants to performe a new X-ray with contrast to se if it is so, previous X-ray without contrast might indicate it. If so a laparotomy is indicated....

Sep 16, 2013
Neoplasia = Cancer
by: The Avian Vet

Apple cider vinegar is useless to rest megabacteria (Avian Gastric Yeast) and any other bacteria, fungi or yeast. It does absolutely nothing. However, if the acidity is too high in the water, birds will not drink. However, it can be used to acidify the gut to make anti fungal medications work better.

The bird should not have been given vitamin injections if was eating Harrison's or any other pellet. This will cause vitamin overdose and significant health problems.

I personally do not think this is neoplasia, but need to know the differential count to help rule it out. It is very likely infectious and serious – such as Mycobacterium or Aspergillus. Very few organisms cause such an elevation in the WBC. Polyomavirus and Bornavirus do not cause an elevated white cell count. Viruses generally do the opposite.

You need another opinion from a specialist (Board Certified Avian Veterianrian. You asked: "Tell me about WBC and avian hematology!" There are entire books written on this subject. I cannot summarize it all here for you. I would like to see the lab results and then I may be able to explain your bird's WBC and hematology.

There are bone marrow cancers that cause proliferation of blood cells. Neoplasia = Cancer

Dr B

Sep 13, 2013
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by: Linda

I am not the Avian Vet, and he will answer this when he is able. In the meantime, this situation with your bird is most likely pre-cancer. Sometimes the neoplasia is benign at least for a while, and then it can change into a malignant situation or not. How your bird came to be afflicted with this is the mystery.

Hopefully, the Avian Vet will have much more to say about it. All I know is that neoplasia is usually the precursor to cancer cells forming. Whether it means that in this case or not is not known by me.You may wish to sit down with your Avian Vet and have them talk to you in layman's terms about this instead of doctor-speak.

Sounds like you are putting in a lot of time, effort and dollars for your bird, and you are very special because of that. I'll be looking for the Avian Vet's answer to this question too.

Thanks for writing,

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