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Chlamydia Psittaci

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Chlamydia psittaci

 

 

C. psittaci's ability to mystify us does not end with classification. It can cause disease in humans, other mammals and birds. It can kill a bird in 48 hours or it can survive in birds causing no outward sign of illness, for as long as 10 years. It can be explosively contagious or barely contagious. It can be destroyed by antibiotics easily or with incredible difficulty. It can be easy to diagnose or extremely frustrating. It can kill baby birds and cause no disease in their parents. It can live outside the body, as well as within. It can be easy to control or almost impossible. It causes massive flock outbreaks one year and none the next.

Individual Susceptibility

The incubation period of psittacosis, as well as the degree of clinical illness, adds to our bewilderment. Just how a bird manifests its exposure to the disease depends on host susceptibility and the virulence (strength) of the strain.

Host susceptibility. Some birds, because of their genetic resistance, are less likely to become ill and, consequently, are more likely to develop into carriers. These include pigeons (one study suggests 70 to 90 percent of all wild pigeons are carriers), doves, budgerigars, cockatiels, cockatoos, herons, gulls, hawks, and approximately 100 additional sylvatic species. Other species, such as rosellas, lorikeets, neophemas, mynahs, canaries and some parrots have low natural resistance and are highly susceptible.

Young birds, due to the relatively incompetent immune systems, are subject to neonatal psittacosis with subsequent high mortality. Any factor that stresses a bird will lower its resistance and increase its potential susceptibility and mortality. Egg production, feeding young, weaning, poor management, overcrowding, concurrent infections and molting are just a few of the many things that stress birds.

The individual power of any agent to infect is known as virulence. This power is subject to change, especially as it inoculates birds and is passed out in the stool. Since each gram of stool from diseased birds can infect 10,000 other birds, the agent's power to cause psittacosis becomes very pertinent.

Transmission

Transmission of C. psittaci is also unsettling. The organism is shed in the nasal secretions and in the stool from infected birds, recovering birds and carriers. Once outside the body, the organism can live for a long period of time, drying to form dust and infecting the susceptible hosts as they breathe. Fecal and oral contamination are especially significant in crowded conditions, as well as in nest boxes. As a general rule, inhaled Chlamydia will cause severe disease, while ingested Chlamydia will tend to develop into carriers.

Transmission through the egg has been experimentally produced in ducks, but as a practical problem, is not documented in psittacines.

 

Symptoms and Diagnosis

The clinical symptoms can be variable, depending on the species infected, the virulence of the agent, the route of exposure and concurrent stresses. The "typical psittacotic bird" is ruffled, depressed, has labored breathing, nasal and ocular discharge, and is neither eating nor vocalizing. The appearance of lime-green or yellow droppings, especially when the urine component is discolored, is highly suggestive, although not diagnostic, of the malady.

One form of psittacosis seen infrequently manifests central nervous system signs. Tremors, shaking, head twisting and convulsions may be the only symptoms you see. This clinical peculiarity has been recognized in Amazons, African greys and cockatoos. Cockatiels can develop a psittacosis syndrome that causes paralysis of the limbs, and usually dark, tarry stools. Additionally, cockatiels and neophemas (turquoisines, scarlet-chested parakeets) with low-grade infections may seem to have an eye disease resembling a sty.

Diagnosis of chlamydiosis in birds is definitive only if the organism is identified, isolated or causes a predictable physiologic response. The identification of the organism is achieved by stains or a fluorescent antibody test.

Treatment

 

Treatment for parrot fever is now much more successful than it once was. Most veterinarians use tetracycline and its derivatives, mainly Vibramycin, to treat sick patients as well as carriers. The antibiotic can be given by intravenous or intramuscular injections, orally or mixed in proper ratios with palatable food. Calcium must be withheld - it binds the tetracycline. Blood levels of tetracycline can be enhanced by citric acid in the birds' drinking water.

Patients in chlamydial crisis need intense, supportive care (heat, isolation, extremely clean conditions, absence from stress, etc.) as well as therapy for concurrent problems. Appropriate lactobacillus, as well as antifungal medications, are essential.

Control and Prevention

Controlling avian psittacosis is best accomplished by keeping susceptible birds away from the infecting agent. Since this little "microvarmit" can remain infective for many months in dried excrement, cleanliness and disinfection are essential. The Chlamydia species is inactivated by quaternary ammonium compounds. These disinfectants should be used to clean cages and wet-mopped on surrounding areas. Eliminating drafts and spraying the area with disinfectants will help keep infectious feathers and dust to a minimum. Birds that have had the disease or are under treatment are fully susceptible to reinfection since the disease does not convey immunity.

In wild birds, psittacosis is controlled naturally by the inability of sick birds to keep up with the flock. Additionally, infective droppings fall to the ground below the trees in which the birds perch. The clinical disease that we see in pets is promoted by confining, crowding, transporting, dietary changes, exposure to other infections and forced exposure to infective excrement…

This article above came from

http://www.multiscope.com/hotspot/psittacosis.htm

 

Please read whole article and you will understand why I use the Antibiotic called “Doxycycline” as “first choice”

Medication.

You will notice the difference straightaway after treatment!

Edited by Elly
added to FAQ under Budgie Health

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That's a brilliant article!!! A real eye opener!!

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:D

 

THANK YOU !!!!!

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Can you only buy Doxy from the vet or is it available other wise?

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Can you only buy Doxy from the vet or is it available other wise?

Vet prescribed only. Some other over the counter products resemble doxy but are not as strong and most likely wont do the job.

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I am now speaking to my vet to find out if I can get it ....

 

 

Nope need to see a bird ... Bugger ... Well I am off to take some poo to them on Thursday

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It is now Classified as Chlamydophila psittaci. They change their names all the time.

Vets will not use or be unlikely to use tetracyclines in young or breeding animals as it discolours the bones (and teeth) yellow in growing animals. It can also cause a temporary cessation in bone growth. So if you bring a young bird in then they will probably use another antibiotic. Doxycycline is a type of tetracycline.

Also it is green urates and not green faeces that are one of the symptoms.

 

Neat. Why do you need antibiotics?

 

Some strains can be hard to treat because overuse of tetracyclines in the past have created resistant strains.

Edited by Sailorwolf

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Some strains can be hard to treat because overuse of tetracyclines in the past have created resistant strains.

 

This is something I agree with even with my kids, I try to keep them off antibiotics and so does our MD because of the super virus out there. I know that we need to ensure our birds are healthy but if you give antibiotics when they are not sick or showing signs that could potentially weaken their immune system vs keeping them healthy because what happens when they are off the antibiotics when they are not sick they then get sick? Just thinking out loud.

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Yes. Quite true Elly. If they haven't had much immunilogical challenge then their immune system won't be as good as it could be.

That's why farm kids (or kids with pets) are always healthier than city kids.

 

Correct you on the super virus though, it is a super bacteria. Chlamydophila is a bacteria. :D

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Some strains can be hard to treat because overuse of tetracyclines in the past have created resistant strains.

 

This is something I agree with even with my kids, I try to keep them off antibiotics and so does our MD because of the super virus out there. I know that we need to ensure our birds are healthy but if you give antibiotics when they are not sick or showing signs that could potentially weaken their immune system vs keeping them healthy because what happens when they are off the antibiotics when they are not sick they then get sick? Just thinking out loud.

 

EXACTLY!

 

I know from personal experience that the birds I buy from one or two top breeders over here have a 30% chance of survival out of their original aviary because those breeders have routine medication regimes. I have lost many birds from these aviaries and have resolved not to bother any more.

 

On the other hand there are a few breeders who refrain from medicating their birds at all except in cases of obvious need and their birds have high success rates all over the State and beyond.

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Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

October 1, 2003, Vol. 223, No. 7, Pages 993-998

doi: 10.2460/javma.2003.223.993

 

Assessment of plasma concentrations of doxycycline in budgerigars fed medicated seed or water

 

Keven Flammer, DVM, DABVP Maureen M. Trogdon‌ Mark Papich, DVM, MS, DACVCP

Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27606. (Flammer, Trogdon); Present address is National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, PO Box 12233 MD CO-01, 111 TW Alexander Dr, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709. (Trogdon); Department of Molecular Biomedical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27606. (Papich)

 

Objective—To determine whether plasma doxycycline concentrations considered effective for treatment of avian chlamydiosis could be safely established and maintained in budgerigars via administration of doxycycline in water or seed.

 

Design—Prospective study.

 

Animals—68 healthy mature budgerigars.

 

Procedure—In 14-day trials, plasma doxycycline concentrations were measured in budgerigars provided with water containing 0, 50, 100, 200, or 400 mg of doxycycline hyclate/L or a hulled seed diet containing 0, 100, 200, or 400 mg of doxycycline hyclate/kg. On the basis of these results, birds were fed seed containing 300 mg of doxycycline/kg for 42 days, and a control group received unmedicated seed. Blood samples for plasma doxycycline analysis were collected either in the morning on treatment days 4, 7, 14, 21, 28, 35, and 42 or in the afternoon on days 12, 26, and 40. Birds were observed daily. On days 14, 28, and 42, physical and plasma biochemical variables, PCV, and total solids concentration were measured; cloacal specimens were obtained for bacteriologic and fungal culture.

 

Results—During a 14-day period, treatment with water containing ≤ 400 mg of doxycycline/L did not maintain plasma doxycycline concentrations of ≥ 1 μg/mL, but seed containing 300 mg of doxycycline hyclate/kg maintained mean plasma doxycycline concentrations > 0.98 μg/mL for 42 days without notable adverse effects.

 

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that hulled seed containing 300 mg of doxycycline hyclate/kg can safely establish and maintain plasma doxycycline concentrations that are considered adequate for treatment of chlamydiosis in adult nonbreeding budgerigars. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2003; 223:993–998)

Edited by KAZ

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That's a good bit of interesting info

 

Thanks Kaz :P

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Does anyone know where you can purchase CTC medicated pellets or seeds? (I.e tetracycline medicated feed). I have read a fair bit and the general consensus is that liquid treatments are the least effective at establishing a therapeutic blood level of the anti-biotics required over the 45 day treatment period. Add to that fact that birds drink less during winter and the problem only becomes worse.

 

Can the medicated feed only be purchased through the vets like the drug itself?

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Dean I don't know what the legislation is in NZ but in Aus a vet would need to provide a script to a feedmill specifically for your flock. THEN the feedmill would need to manufacture the pellets as per vet script spec. The trouble with it is that any self respecting feedmill would never consider such small manufacturing runs and would probably wouldn't even be set up to do so.

 

The only other alternative would be for a vet to develop their own range of medicated feed, wholesale manufactured by a feedmill and then on sold by the vet themselves but again I doubt that the volume that they would sell would not justify the attendtion of a commercial feedmill.

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So the water option is probably the most accessible. Ho hum. Shame really since it seems the least effective and most difficult to reach therapeutic levels.

 

Im going to ring the avian vet tomorrow and have a chat...

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Let us know the results of your discussion Dean. The legislation in NZ might be a bit different OR there might be some small mills/premix manufacturer's that might be interested in this sort of business.

 

Just at a conference and know a number of consultant livestock vets so might just broach the subject with them. Also pellets are one thing but maybe there is a way to purchase terramycin powder and apply it in some way to seed. Was there any information that you found on how the seed was treated to allow terramycin intake? I may well be able to get access to terramycin powder (used to be able to buy it as pink eye powder over here) and if there is a way to treat the seed then maybe that's a better option. Would certainly be simpler than changing water daily.

 

Doxy powder is available too so could use that to treat seed if we knew the rates and technique.

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did anyone follow up on the powder idea

rather than water intake of medication ?? nubbly ? dean ? i just wondered thats all

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