Effects of mydriatic agents in cockatoos, African gray parrots, and Blue-fronted Amazon parrots

Jan C. Ramer, Joanne R Paul-Murphy, David Brunson, Christopher J Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Objective: To compare, in psittacines, the mydriatic effects of several topically applied curariform, sympathomimetic, and parasympatholytic drugs with and without the addition of surface-acting penetrating agents. Design: Prospective, randomized controlled trial. Animals: 10 adult cockatoos (Cacatua sulphurea subspecies), 2 adult African gray parrots (Psittacus erithacus), and 3 adult Blue-fronted Amazon parrots (Amazona aestiva). Procedure: Three curariform drugs (d-tubocurarine, pancuronium, and vecuronium bromide) and 2 autonomic drugs (atropine and phenylephrine hydrochloride) were evaluated. Drugs were tested with and without the addition of a surface-acting penetrating agent, either saponin or benzalkonium chloride. The agent that resulted in the most significant change in pupillary diameter with the fewest systemic side effects in the cockatoos then was evaluated for its effects in the African gray parrots and the Blue-fronted Amazon parrots. During each drug trial, 1 eye was randomly selected to receive the control drug (0.9% NaCl), and the opposite eye was selected to receive the test drug. Each pupil was videotaped 5 (cockatoos only), 15, 30, 45, 60, and 75 minutes after treatment. Pupil diameters were measured by use of a computerized image analysis system. Data for pupil size were analyzed by means of repeated measures ANOVA. Results: Vecuronium without the addition of a surface-acting penetrating agent produced the most consistent and greatest pupillary dilatation in all 3 species with the fewest systemic side effects. Clinical Implications: Vecuronium is potentially a clinically useful, topical mydriatic agent for use in avian species. Documented differences in the prevalence of systemic side effects between species suggests that caution should be applied when applying this drug bilaterally.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)227-230
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 15 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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