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Avian Gastric Yeast..... Megabacteria

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Avian Gastric Yeast

 

A new name for an old complaint Megabacteria –

 

Megabacterisis are a common cause of mortality in exhibition Budgerigars. This can be difficult to distinguish against Streptococcus as both diseases have similar symptoms and a microscopic examination of the birds faeces will be needed to confirm which disease the bird is carrying.

 

The name mega implies something very large and then add on bacteria , large yes because the cigar shaped organisms are almost twenty times the size of most common bacteria but new evidence suggest it is a fungus and not a bacteria as first thought.

 

As a result of these new findings it was renamed and called Avian Gastric Yeast.

 

Many of us will have lost birds over the years due to “going light” a term referred to by many aviculturists when birds waste away. There are many diseases that share the “going light” symptom and we will address these later.

 

Megabacteria or AGY as they are now called are found in the digestive tract in the glandular stomach and the juncional zone between the glandular stomach and the gizzard.

 

The transmission is thought to be by oral ingestion of the infected faeces. I personally would never rule out contaminated water fountains as a means of transferring this infection also.

 

The symptoms of AGY are “going light” - chronic wasting, fluffed up, vomiting, prominent keel bone, increased hunger, large droppings and a pasted vent.

 

Secondary changes can also occur in the liver as the bird becomes anorexic.

 

The infected birds will appear to be eating continuously but all they are doing is grinding seed down into a dust, check your seed containers for dust if you suspect AGY in your stock.

 

Impaired immunity inflicted by stress or other diseases will form an outbreak of AGY in your stud.

 

Infection is widespread and it is assumed that this is due to the purchasing of infected birds or carriers.

 

I am certain there are not many budgerigar fanciers that have not heard of Megabacteria I just hope they have never experience the disease.

 

How can we be sure we do not have any AGY carriers in our bird rooms?

 

Treatment is possible but I personally have had no success. I was using Megabac – S as per the maker’s instructions and I found I could stabilise the birds but they soon reverted back to their chronic illness.

Megabac-S" amphotericin powder is given at the rate of 250mg per 50ml of water for ten days. Birds must consume 4ml per 100g of body weight a day to get a correct dose.

Some birds fail to drink sufficient of the treated water via a water fountain so I would recommend using a crop tube to get the correct dosage.

 

The use of this formulation in drinking water has been shown to reduce incidence but not eliminate the disease.

 

Problems can occur with treatment as some drug have poor systemic uptake and many birds are unable to recover clinically due to the proventricular damage.

 

The use of amphotericin in the water does reduce incidence but is unlikely to eliminate AGY.

 

Some wise words from Brian Stockdale on the use of F10SC avian disinfectant –

 

For those of you with an AGY problem wishing to try F10SC, the medication regime is 1ml in 1 litre of water given for 3 consecutive days once weekly. Where there is an endemic problem, using F10SC pre-pairing up (perhaps for 6 weeks and at least a month clear of egg-laying), to reduce the overall levels within the stud may be sensible.

 

Don’t use (any medication) while there are young in the nest as the parent birds will potentially concentrate the product and feed a potentially harmful level to the chicks.

 

A word of warning, don’t use F10SC or any other medicinal product purely on a whim. If you don’t have a problem don’t be putting chemicals of any description into your birds, rather encourage a healthy gut flora population and promote a strong immune system with good husbandry and sound nutrition.

 

 

Many thanks to Brian Stockdale for giving me permission to print his article which can be viewed in full on my web site...............Barrie Shutt

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Thanks Kaz, found the last bit on FSC10 very interesting.

 

Have been using it as a disinfecant and found it to be pretty good and cheaper than some of the other virucidal stuff.

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