Psittacosis ?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by heavypetting, Aug 18, 2008.

  1. heavypetting

    heavypetting Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 14, 2007
    Charlotte, NC
    Has anyone ever had their chickens or other birds tested for Psittacosis? I was recently at a medical conference regarding animals in healthcare. The Eden Alternative program for nursing homes includes pet birds, but they must test negative for psittacosis.

    The last time I took Mr. Joy in for a health certificate for his nursing home work, the vet discouraged any bloodwork because just about everything was reportable to the state ag. Positive results would mean culling the flock, including Mr. Joy (The phrase "out of my cold dead hands" comes to mind there)

    Anybody have experience with this?
  2. Jenski

    Jenski Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 17, 2008
    Middle Tennessee
    The vet discouraged bloodwork because he might have to report it?
  3. needmorechickens!

    needmorechickens! Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 2, 2008
    West TN
    Never heard of testing for that. I think you should ask another vet or maybe if you have a university or your county extension agent?
  4. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

    May 8, 2007
    Years ago, I had my parrot tested for it as part of a "new bird exam" that included routine screening. He was negative. I know it's treatable with antibiotics. I'd check into what the actual regulations are in your state, so you can read them yourself.
  5. onthespot

    onthespot Deluxe Dozens

    Mar 29, 2008
    Riverside/Norco, CA
    from what i have read, even a negative test does not mean the bird does not have the organism, and that the disease may be in a dormant phase, which will come back full force in a stress situation, if the bird has it. From my understanding it is much more difficult for non-hookbill species to catch it. You can have finches side by side with hookbills being treated for Psittacosis and never have the finches show any sign of any disease. That, plus treating for Psittacosis is really drawn out and expensive if you have a lot of birds, consists of my entire knowledge of the disease. Last year I thougt a bird I bought might have had it so I treated all my aviaries. What a DRAG!!! All birds are fine now and i never tested any of them.
  6. mypicklebird

    mypicklebird Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 8, 2008
    Sonoma Co, CA
    Psittacosis aka avian chlamydiosis or chlamydophilosis (love to spell those) aka 'parrot fever' aka ornithosis (which refers to the disease in poultry). It is definitely a zoonotic disease and is reportable. Meaning if a lab or vet diagnoses it, it must be reported. For pet parrots- getting this diagnosed (and having it reported) does not mean a death sentence from the state- for sure if this is a recent pet store purchase- the store will be visited by the health dept, the store may be shut down for a period, and the entire bird population treated- probably if the store owned could not/would not- the population might get impounded and/or depopulated. If a pet parrot got diagnosed- this can be treated, but it is a long process, some infections can be eliminated but some only can be suppressed.

    Rare in chickens, more of a problem for turkeys. Not sure about other poultry.

    Vet doesn't want to do testing for infectious disease in a pet going into a NURSING HOME? This is just about the most immune compromised group of people I can think of besides maybe a burn victim ward or inpatient chemotherapy ward! Not wanting to do testing because something is reportable is unethical and lazy IMO. If your vet actually said that verbatim- I think you should get a second opinion. If they said this is rare in chickens, the test is expensive, I don't think this is necessary for this species in this situation- that is not wrong- but if the pet was positive (which would be surprising) you definitely do not want to take it out in public, and you too are at risk. If it was positive and reported- I doubt it would be any different than a person with a positive parrot. If you want to know what the repercussions would be of a positive before actually testing for a reportable disease- call your state vet and ask.
  7. heavypetting

    heavypetting Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 14, 2007
    Charlotte, NC
    Thanks for the responses.

    The vet involved was being cautious because she believed she would be required to seize and destroy Mr. Joy if he got a positive result and the state would come kill all my birds as a precaution.

    I just came in to get a general health certificate for Mr. Joy to visit a nursing home. I asked about testing just to show he was in excellent health, no internal/external parasites, no obvious diseases. The tests were not required.

    I'm going to call the state vet tomorrow and inquire.
    I guess what bothers me is backyard pets being treating as a biosecurity threat like factory farms. There should a distinction. It seems to discourage honest reporting.
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2008
  8. SpottedCrow

    SpottedCrow Flock Goddess

    Nice to see you again, HP!
    Glad to hear that Mr. Joy's making the rounds still.

    It really and truly does make the small person think twice about having their animals checked out.

    I had an idiot woman wanting to have me fired for bringing Slifer and Obelisk into the pet shop where I work because she was gonna get Psittacosis and die.[​IMG] They were on leashes in a store carriage lined with newspaper and they never left the carriage or got anywhere near her...
  9. mypicklebird

    mypicklebird Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 8, 2008
    Sonoma Co, CA
    Long post: On Zoonotic disease, Avian Flu, END, more about Psittacosis, and Mr Spock.

    One of the main reasons that the county and state supported labs do the free testing is they want to find the bad bugs before they affect the human population OR the factory farms. Poultry- meat and eggs are big business. It is thought that when the Asian avian influenza makes it here- and it will sooner or later- it will be found in backyard flocks- not big commercial farms who have good bio-security measures in place. It will come by way of wild birds most likely- and we with the free ranging poultry are the most at risk of finding this in our backyard. Things like Avian flu H5N1 or exotic newcastle disease, if found in a backyard chicken submitted to a lab- would set a big wheel in motion- quarantine & depopulate. Probably not just your birds, but your neighbors and your town. END pops up periodically in the US, via smuggled in parrots- it is not very zoonotic, but it is a very deadly and contagious disease to most species of birds- from the cage bird types to poultry. It was responsible for some pretty severe quarantine and depopulating in Southern CA recently. Personally, I would be very upset if my flock ended up with one of these things and me and my town got quarantined and depopulated (of pet birds)- but I will not knowingly house a pet with something that is seriously human life threateningly zoonotic or had the ability to devastate a significant portion of my town and state's economy. Anyway, not to be sarcastic, but your vet would never have to personally impound and destroy your pet if something horrible was detected- but the govt might. Psittacosis is NOT one of those things- it is zoonotic, but it does not have the kind of transmission potential to wipe out an industry or kill a bunch of people rapidly. My chicken buddies around here send birds to the labs that have died suddenly and unexpectedly, as well as sending in culled ill members of a sick group- so far nobody has come knocking, and we have found out for the cost of mailing the package- what parasites are present in our flocks, as well as what chronic viral/bacterial problems are around. I have also let masked and bootied members of the state dept onto my property to let them capture chickens for throat swabs (survey for avian flu)... something that really freaked out some of my local chicken buddies when they showed up unannounced- how DID they know I have chickens- I think they drive around with their windows down listening for clucking, but as part of a larger community, I try to think of the greater good (at least most of the time). The good of the many outweighs the good of the few, or one... to quote Mr Spock.
    Sorry for the long post, I get on a roll and sometimes forget what the original topic was [​IMG]

  10. therealsilkiechick

    therealsilkiechick ShowGirl Queen

    Jul 18, 2007
    Northwestern, pa
    here is a bunch of info on Psittacosis. it should answer alot of questions for u and then some.

    each state is different with what is a reportable and non reportable disease but some things r mandatory reportable like AI, rabies ect because they r federal.

    there is many things here in PA i'm required to report, i work for the PA Dept of Ag, some things have to be reported to them while others have to be reported to FDA just depends on what it is. My job is also to do blood work, swabs and take samples to the lab. i see alot of nasty things and what goes around i surely don't enjoy it and don't know anyone who does but it's not just a job it is to protect the animals and people from diseases or the transfer and spreed of them.

    for the OP if ur vet said that to me, i'd find a new one. their primary should be to test and to protect the animals and people not worry about anything else.

    to mypicklebird if they showed up at ur door to do testing it was because something was reported that was serious or a follow up on tests u had done that's how they found u. if not someone around u had testing or tested possative for something and they did ur flock as a precaution. we don't swab for AI in chickens it is blood tested only, waterfowl is a cloacal swab not throat.

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