Formoguanamine (2,4-diamino-s-triazine) was known to be an effective chemical agent in inducing blindness in poultry chicks, but not in adult birds. The present study was undertaken to demonstrate the influences, if any, of this chemical on the visual performance and retinal histology in an adult sub-tropical wild bird, the roseringed parakeet (Psittacula krameri). Formoguanamine (FG) hydrochloride was subcutaneously injected into adult parakeets at a dosage of 25 mg (dissolved in 0.75 ml physiological saline)/100 g body weight/day, for two consecutive days while the control birds were injected only with a placebo. The effects were studied after 10, 20 and 30 days of the last treatment of FG. Within 24 h of the treatment of FG, about 90% of the total birds exhibited lack of visual responses to any light stimulus and even absence of pupillary light reactions. The remaining birds became totally blind on the day following the last injection of FG and remained so till the end of investigation. At the microscopic level, conspicuous degenerative changes were noted in the outer pigmented epithelium and the photoreceptive layer of rods and cones in the retinas of FG treated birds. A significant reduction in the thickness of the outer nuclear layer was also found in the retinas of FG treated parakeets, compared to that in the control birds. However, the inner cell layers of the retina in the control and FG administered parakeets were almost identical. It deserves special mention that the effects of FG, noted after 30 days of last treatment, were not very different from those noted just after 10 days of treatment. Collectively, the results of the present investigation demonstrate that FG can be used as a potent pharmacological agent for inducing irreversible blindness through selective damage in retinal tissue even in the adult wild bird, thereby making FG treatment an alternative euthanasic device to a cumbersome, stressful, surgical method of enucleation of the ocular system for laboratory studies.
Volume 44 | Issue 3
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