Morphologic and quantitative evaluation of bone marrow aspirates from Hispaniolan Amazon parrots (Amazona ventralis)

Diana Schwartz, David Sanchez Migallon Guzman, Hugues Beaufrere, Melanie Ammersbach, Joanne Paul-Murphy, Thomas N. Tully, Mary M. Christopher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Bone marrow aspirate assessments provide valuable information about hematopoietic status and hematologic disease. Hematopoietic cell differentials and morphologies have been anecdotally described in psittacines, but quantitative studies are lacking. Objectives: We aimed to determine differential cell counts and calculate granulocyte:erythroid (G:E) ratios in bone marrow aspirates from Hispaniolan Amazon parrots and report representative morphologies of the hematopoietic cells. Methods: Bone marrow aspirates were collected from 32 clinically healthy, captive, parrots. Peripheral blood was obtained for CBCs. Bone marrow differential cell counts (%) were determined by counting 500 cells on modified Wright's-stained smears. G:E ratios were calculated. Representative images of hematopoietic cells at all stages of development were taken. Results: Of the 32 parrots sampled, 17 bone marrow samples were of sufficient cellularity and quality for evaluation. Erythroid cells comprised 68.9 ± 8.6% (total ± SD) of the hematopoietic cells and consisted primarily of early- and late-stage polychromatophilic rubricytes (43.6 ± 2.1% of total erythroid cells). Granulocytic cells comprised 28.1 ± 3.8% of the hematopoietic cells and consisted primarily of mature and band heterophils (11.9 ± 5.2% and 6.5 ± 3.4%, respectively, of total granulocytic cells). A unique morphologic finding in avian progranulocytes was the presence of multiple different granules. The G:E ratio was 0.4 ± 0.2 (median 0.4, range 0.1-0.9). Thrombocyte lineage cells could not be reliably identified and were not counted. CBC results were largely within expected limits. Conclusions: The low G:E ratios observed could be normal in this species; however, these ratios could be affected by factors related to sampling and cell identification. These findings will be a valuable resource for the diagnostic evaluation of clinical bone marrow samples from Hispaniolan Amazon parrots and could serve as a general reference for psittacine bone marrow evaluation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalVeterinary Clinical Pathology
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019


  • avian
  • erythropoiesis
  • granulopoiesis
  • hematology
  • hematopoiesis
  • morphology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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