Atherosclerosis in captive birds of prey

Atherosclerosis is a disease of the arteries characterized by the deposition of plaques of fatty material on their inner walls that affects birds and humans. Drs. Charlene Lujan Vega, a veterinarian and master’s student in the Avian Sciences Graduate Group, along with Drs. Michelle Hawkins (Director of the California Raptor Center) and Kevin Keel (Associate Professor of Pathology in the School of Veterinary Medicine) aim to retrospectively characterize this disease in tissues from non-releasable raptors that died of natural causes between 1986-2015.  We will evaluate evidence of the disease and potential risk factors including family, age, gender, origin and cholesterol concentrations.