You just brought your new bird home and a week later it is sick. It sneezes, sits at the bottom of the cage all fluffed up, and has lemon colored droppings. The signs are clear it is time to rush your bird to the veterinarian.
Birds usually hide their illnesses and show signs of disease only
when they are seriously ill and cannot pretend to be well.
Therefore, every visibly sick bird is a medical emergency. But the
clinical signs displayed by your newly purchased bird may be of a
much more serious concern. Your bird might be affected by
Psittacosis, a disease that can be transmitted to people.
Psittacosis is also known as parrot fever or ornithosis. It is
caused by bacteria called Chlamydophila psittaci. In people the
disease is characterized by flu-like symptoms (fever, chills, body
ache) and may also cause severe pneumonia and other serious health
problems. Most human cases have resulted from exposure to infected
pet birds (usually cockatiels, parakeets, parrots, and macaws). In
birds, the infection is called avian chlamydiosis.
Affected birds are usually depressed, thin, anorexic and may have
respiratory problems such as sneezing, eye and/or nose redness and
discharge as well as bright lime colored droppings due to liver
Infected birds can transmit the disease to humans via feces and
nasal discharges containing the bacteria. It is important to keep
high standards of hygiene when caring for birds. Constant cleaning
and periodic disinfection of the cage and food containers will
reduce survival of bacteria that are shed into the cage environment.
Hand washing with anti-bacterial soap should be a regimen any time
after handling the birds and the cage.
Psittacosis is more prevalent in facilities that house large
populations of birds such as aviaries and pet stores. Pet birds that
originate from such places are more likely to be infected and we
highly recommend that they undergo laboratory testing following
purchase. A thorough physical exam should be done on any newly
acquired bird. New birds introduced into houses with existing
healthy birds should be quarantined to avoid spreading of
Psittacosis within the household avian population.
In cases of suspected Psittacosis in birds or in their owners,
both the veterinarian and the physician will run diagnostic
laboratory tests for the disease. A positive diagnosis of
Psittacosis is followed by reporting the findings to the public
health authorities which then initiate a series of steps aimed to
eliminate the source of the problem.
Remember that following simple precautionary steps can help not only you and your birds but also others with whom you come in contact
More informtion from the CDC http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dbmd/diseaseinfo/psittacosis_t.htm[Back]