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Author:  Peacocks Australia [ Thu Sep 13, 2007 9:09 am ]
Post subject:  Psittacosis

What is Psittacosis?

Psittacosis is a highly contagious disease of parrots, which is called ornithosis when it affects humans and other animals. It is caused by a bacteria Chlamydia psittaci. Because the same bacteria is involved in both diseases it is commonly called chlamydiosis.

Are all birds affected?

The disease occurs mainly in the parrot family, but can be found in pigeons, pheasants, poultry, geese, ducks and turkeys.

How do birds become infected?

Spread of the bacteria occurs during close contact between infected and uninfected birds. The disease is acquired by inhaling dust from the feathers contaminated with dried droppings containing highly resistant bacterial spores. Carrier birds appear healthy but excrete the bacteria in their droppings for long periods spreading the organism to other birds and humans.

Wild birds are a common source of infection for captive birds kept in outside aviaries. Onset of the disease and excretion of bacteria is usually caused by stress, often when birds are purchased and introduced into a new aviary or overcrowding, poor nutrition, diet changes, prolonged transportation, fluctuating temperatures, handling or nesting.

Young birds are generally more susceptible to infection than adults. Recovered birds can excrete bacteria when again placed under stress.

What are the clinical signs in birds?
Affected birds can appear sleepy, refuse to eat, have fits of shivering and are disinclined to perch. Sick birds may show ruffled feathers, nasal discharge, conjunctivitis, watery green diarrhoea with pasting of the feathers around the vent.

Treatment for birds
If any of your birds are showing any of these symptoms then veterinary diagnosis and treatment is advised. Your veterinarian will advise on antibiotic treatment of the sick and remaining birds in your aviary. Birds can be effectively treated.

It is important you remove all droppings from perches, nest boxes, feeders and the floor. They need to be wet thoroughly with detergent and disinfectant before cleaning.

Undertake precautions to avoid becoming infected by using dust masks, gloves, overalls, personal disinfection and hygiene. Scrub the aviary with detergent then disinfect the aviary with a household bleach (10ml/1 litre water) or phenolic based disinfectant. Allow the aviary to dry before reintroduction or release of the birds.

Preventing the disease entering your aviary

Isolate all introductions in a quarantine cage away from other birds for 45 days. Medicate the introductions as directed by your veterinarian for the 45 days. Prevent the risk of wild bird’s droppings contaminating your aviary food and water supplies, eg clear roofed flights.
How do humans become infected?

The disease is spread by inhaling the bacteria present in dust from dried bird droppings and by finger contact with the nose or eye secretions and transfer to your eyes or mouth. Infected birds in enclosed areas flapping their wings disperse spores into the air. The risk of getting the disease is greater when the birds are under stress, eg just after being purchased.

You may unknowingly come in contact with infected birds while feeding or handling birds in the wild or cleaning feeding stations for wild birds.
The spread of psittacosis from person to person is uncommon.

What are the symptoms in humans?

The symptoms of psittacosis in humans are variable, but may include: fever, headache, aching muscles, chills, while cough is characteristically dry or may even be absent. If pneumonia occurs, other symptoms such as shortness of breath and chest pain may occur.

I think I may be infected – what should I do?

Contact your local doctor and tell him/her you have been in contact with birds. The disease can be readily treated with antibiotics.

How can I avoid getting psittacosis ?
Do not keep birds inside your house;
Avoid breathing in any dust from dried bird droppings, feathers, or cage dust;
Dampen any bird droppings or cages prior to cleaning;
Wear gloves, dust masks and overalls when cleaning cages;
Do not allow birds to get close to your face;
Wash your hands thoroughly after contact with birds.

Author:  debbieo4914 [ Thu Sep 13, 2007 10:50 am ]
Post subject: 

Thanks PA. That's a great summary.

We're all off to the doctor tomorrow. The parrots are on a course of doxycycline.

The chickens all seem fine, and having not had direct contact with the parrots I don't think I'll medicate them at this stage as it's such a long course of treatment and then you have other issues from the prolonged use of antibiotics. Look out if I see a runny nose, though!

Thanks again for your help!

Author:  debbieo4914 [ Thu Sep 13, 2007 10:52 am ]
Post subject: 

I forgot to ask - what's a "sticky" post/topic??

Author:  Peacocks Australia [ Thu Sep 13, 2007 6:54 pm ]
Post subject: 

Debbieo4914, A "Sticky" is a Priority setting for a Post made by Admin, this means it will always remain on the top of the Forum. This feature is not available to Members but a Member can request it if they feel their Post has Important Information such as the Information in this Thread.

Peacocks Australia :lol: :lol:

Author:  fluffychicks [ Tue Mar 02, 2010 9:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Psittacosis

Can I use the same Tetracyclines antibiotics for parrots on my chickens

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