Below is a list of common bird diseases. Most of the items in the list can be transmitted to any domestic bird, some or more common in some species than in others. Please Note: That the staff at Feathered Friends Aviary are not veterinarians and the following information is general in nature. If you suspect your pet bird my be ill or have a disease listed below
DO NOT EMAIL US WITH YOUR QUESTIONS....GO TO YOUR VET!!
When a bird develops the illness, the disease is characterized by feather abnormalities, feather dystrophy and ultimately, death.
PBFD can affect birds of any age, but is more commonly seen in young birds from 0-3 years. Although many older birds can suddenly turn up positive for the virus, even though they had been clinically normal most of their lives. Especially disconcerting is the fact that this disease is EXTREMELY contagious. Viral particles are airborne. Dried feces & feather dust can adhere to clothing, nesting material, feeding formula, feeding utensils, nets, bird carriers, toys, & a myriad of other vehicles of possible transmission.
Obvious symptoms of PBFD are feather-dystrophy, possible bald patches on the head (this may exclude certain breeding-pairs, in which the male bird may pluck the female's head-feathers out.) If your bird has feathers missing elsewhere such as the chest, it's likely that the bird has plucked out it's own feathers, but PBFD should be ruled out before one can make such an assessment. Other signs are missing primary wing feathers and/or tail feathers, ragged looking or half-developed feathers, powdery feather-sheaths, or sheaths that don't dissapear within a few weeks. Infected birds will eventually lose most or all feathers and become extremely ill. Then the bird will die a very painful death, usually from secondary infection, or possibly failure of one or more internal organs.
DON'T ASSUME THAT YOUR BIRD IS HEALTHY BECAUSE IT'S FEATHERS LOOK PERFECT!
*Many birds (including young birds) that carry the disease will show NO SYMPTOMS. This means that even healthy looking birds should be tested because they still may be carrying the disease. They may initially test negative. There have been current discussions by breeders who have experienced this disease. They have explained that birds can test negative, possibly for several months. They explained that after certain previously diagnosed "negative" birds had been through some traumatic ordeal (such as shipping) the birds show a positive result. Stress is thought to "pop" the disease. This will cause the dormant virus to begin the process of shedding itself. They have assessed that stressful times are the best times to test your birds. For new acquisitions, right after shipping would be the ideal time to test them. On established birds, you may want to set up a temporary nestbox, which can cause stress, or take the bird for a bumpy ride in your car.
A negative test result does not prove that a bird is free of the virus because an incubation period of up to 4 weeks may be neccessary before the virus can be detected in the blood. Birds who test negative should be tested subsequently at 30 days after possible exposure, and if negative, retested again at 60 days.
What are the signs of infection among birds?
Chlamydia psittaci infects wild and domestic birds and poultry. Birds which contract the infection include parrots, canaries, pigeons, chickens, ducks, and turkeys. The time between exposure to Chlamydia psittaci and the onset of illness in caged birds ranges from three days to several weeks. Sick birds show signs of:
This pathogen is considered one of the most significant threats to cage birds around the world. This highly infectious disease effects most if not all parrot species. Polyoma seems to be most problematic among neonates (young birds) between the ages 14-56 days. Young birds often die, while adult birds can develop a certain level of immunity. Polyoma is believed to have an incubation period of approximately two weeks or less.
Transmission: The disease can spread from one bird to another via feather dust, feces, aerosols and parental feeding of chicks; direct contact or contact with infected environments (incubators, nest boxes) Birds that are infected but do not have obvious signs of infection are often responsible for spreading the virus to an aviary or bird store. Carrier state maybe possible in adult birds.
Symptoms: Swollen abdomen, depression, loss of appetite, anorexia, weight loss, delayed crop emptying, regurgitation, diarrhea, dehydration, feather abnormalities hemorrhages under the skin, dyspnea, polyuria, ataxia, tremors, paralysis, acute death. Some birds die without any clinical symptoms. Adult birds may die of secondary infection from bacterial, viral, fungal or parasitic pathogen.
PDV was first recognized in Brazil where aviculturalists began seeing birds dying only a few days after becoming ill. The virus can start shedding in the feces and nasal discharge of an infected bird in as little as 3-7 days after infection. Considered highly contagious , PDV can spread rapidly through an aviary. Often the first sign that the disease is present is when a new bird is introduced to an aviary and healthy birds begin mysteriously dying. Pacheco's disease is often fatal and affects psittacines of all ages. New World psittacines seem to be more susceptible to the disease than Old World psittacines.
Transmission: Transmission of PDV is generally through infected feces and nasal discharge. PDV remains remarkably stable outside the host body as a dust or aerosol. This dust or aerosol contaminates the air that is then inhaled by another possible host. Contaminated surfaces, food, and drinking water may also contribute to the spread of the disease.
Birds can be asymptomatic carriers of Pacheco's virus. Some believe that any bird that has survived an outbreak of the disease should be considered as a possible carrier. PDV can be reactivated when the bird is under stress such as during breeding, loss of mate, or change and environmental changes. Once it is reactivated the virus is shed in large numbers in the feces of the infected bird. Symptoms: Symptoms include lethargy, diarrhea, ruffled feathers, sinusitis, anorexia, conjunctivitis, and tremors in the neck, wing and legs.
Fecal material may become discolored with urates becoming green indicating possible liver damage has occurred. Birds generally die from massive liver necrosis characterized by an enlarged liver, spleen and kidneys. However, some birds die suddenly with no specific or observable symptoms. Seemingly healthy birds often die quickly from Pacheco's disease. Generally stress associated with relocation, breeding, loss of mate or climate changes can activate the virus and result in activation of the disease and it's symptoms as well as shedding large numbers of the virus in the feces.
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