Schistosome infections in mammals cause chronic proliferative vascular lesions associated with the presence of adult parasites in the lumen of mesenteric and portal veins. In birds, however, this has never been reported. In this study, we found obliterative endophlebitis associated with the presence of adult schistosomes (Trichobilharzia sp., probably Trichobilharzia filiformis) as the main pathologic finding in five of eight mute swans (Cygnus olor). On histologic examination, the intestinal and portal veins of these swans showed moderate to severe, diffuse, hyperplastic endophlebitis, characterized by myointimal hyperplasia, often with obliteration of the vascular lumen. In addition, moderate to severe lymphocytic and granulocytic enteritis occurred in all eight swans associated with the presence of schistosome eggs in the intestinal mucosa. Other findings included hepatic and splenic hemosiderosis and high hepatic copper levels. The vascular lesions associated with Trichobilharzia sp. infection may have contributed to the emaciation and death of those mute swans by obstruction of venous return in the intestinal and portal veins.

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Veterinary Pathology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

van Bolhuis, H., Rijks, J., Dorrestein, G. M., Rudolfova, J., van Dijke, M., & Kuiken, T. (2004). Obliterative endophlebitis in mute swans (Cygnus olor) caused by Trichobilharzia sp. (Digenea: Schistosomatidae) infection. Veterinary Pathology, 41(6), 658–665. doi:10.1354/vp.41-6-658