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Old 06-03-2018, 12:43 PM
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Dealing With PBFD

Unfortunately, my girl, Sherbert, was diagnosed with PBFD(psittacine beak and feather disease) last month and it hasn't been easy, but we're surviving. My question is this. I have read a few different resources about the disease/virus and I'm getting a few conflicting reports on the virality of the disease. In terms of cleaning, is there any true way to get rid of the virus?

Sherbert resides in a smaller cage(23x14x16) that I first got when I purchased her and a larger flight cage (34x32x20) that she has unfortunately not had the chance to use due to a botch wing clip job when I purchased her and then the progression of her disease. Her current cage rests on top of the empty flight cage.

Once Sherbert passes(which I hope won't be for a few years), is there any chance of being able to use the larger cage for a different parrot without a risk of infection?
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Old 06-03-2018, 03:42 PM
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Re: Dealing With PBFD

The individual (Vet(?)) who informed you about your bird having PBFD should have provided you a guide regarding the care of your bird, yourself, and everyone else in your home. Plus what you need to do to contain and limit spreading it. Your bird should also be taking medication.

On-going deep clearing is part of this process. At some point in the future, you will be deep cleaning top to bottom and will come to a point that your testing will show you and your home is free of PBFD.

You really need to be working with a Certified Avian Vet and following their instructions. It is not uncommon that your County Health Department will be handling the site testing.
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Old 06-03-2018, 04:52 PM
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Re: Dealing With PBFD

The vet Sherbert sees sent me this email following her blood test roughly 5 days prior " Good afternoon, I got the blood viral results back and unfortunately Sherbert is positive for psittacine beak and feather disease. I have not seen this in any of my patients since 1994. This means that the virus was acquired when Sherbert was a baby either at the breeders or the pet shop. I would notify the pet store so they can test their facility and notify the breeder as well. There is no successful treatment for PBFD tragically. I would like to keep her on interferon as this is an antiviral medication. Good nutrition, clean cage and keeping at 70-85 degrees will help her keep the virus at bay as long as she can. Please let me know if you have any other concerns or questions." She is only vet that I know of that cares for birds within a 50+ mile radius of myself. Most of the things I have learnt about PBFD, I have found myself from resources online. When I replied to the email, I asked about transmitting it to other parrots, I received an email back stating that I shouldn't "worry about transmitting the disease unless you are in contact with baby parrots. They are the ones that are susceptible. I would not go into any areas where they are breeding birds." The second email was not from the vet itself, but rather someone else who works there. Possibly, someone who might not even know much about PBFD. I personally don't know. So, you might see where I'm turning to the community here to hopefully find some more knowledgeable answers.

P.S. Nothing shows up when searching for avian vets near me within 50 miles. Apparently the closest one that shows up is about 70 miles away and I personally don't know how well Sherbert would do on a trip like that having never been in a car for more than 15 minutes.

Last edited by Sherbert.the.Bird; 06-03-2018 at 05:01 PM. Reason: adding info
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Old 06-03-2018, 09:55 PM
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Re: Dealing With PBFD

Well, that's less than great. Call the CAV that is 70 miles away and ask them for information regarding treatment, recommended medication, etc... NOTE: They may have reference material.

From the responses you are getting, your local Vet is a nice person that helps with the local Parrot population, but is not a Avian Professional, which is not uncommon. You need to be talking and working with a professional to assure that you are getting current information and treatment support. Also, required reporting in your State and County.

Please call your local Pet Store and/or Breeder you purchased your Parrot in inform them of the PBFD. They really need to know!

You should fully avoid can contact with any Parrots (regardless of age) and Parrot Owners (regardless of the age of their Parrots), since you have no idea what or who they will come in contact with. You should consider yourself at risk of infection to any and all other Parrots. If anyone comes to your home, before you invite them in, your first question is, are they, or will they come in contact with any Parrots. If maybe, they are not allow in your home.

Each State and County have their own requirements regarding reporting and transmission control. Ask the CAV what is required in your area!

It would be wise to inform your medical Doctor that you have a confirmed case of PBFD in your home and what cautions you need to take.
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Last edited by SailBoat; 06-03-2018 at 09:57 PM.
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Old 06-04-2018, 08:25 AM
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Re: Dealing With PBFD

Yeah, I agree with Sailboat, you got absolutely NO information that you needed to know, not even the basic stuff. You'll be all the much better for simply doing as much research as you can on PBFD yourself.

As far as transmission, from what I can remember from my days working in the Animal Diagnostic Lab at Penn State, most birds acquire PBFD as hatchlings from their parents or other infected birds in the aviary, but it can be acquired by adult birds through the feces, crop liquids, and from the pieces of feathers and their beak. It is a virus with no direct CURATIVE treatment as of now, but that doesn't at all mean that your bird cannot live a wonderfully full life, EVEN IF HE LOSES HIS FEATHERS! There are many cases of parrots with PBFD losing all of their feathers but besides that outward symptom they are fine...BUT MOST OF THOSE PARROTS ARE ON DIFFERENT MEDS/NATURAL SUPPLEMENTS, ALL OF WHICH SHOULD BE GEARED TOWARD PREVENTING A SECONDARY INFECTION FROM DEVELOPING!!!

And this is what your vet failed to even mention, which is upsetting to me...The key to a bird living with PBFD is preventing their deteriorated immune system from becoming prey to a secondary infection, meaning a Bacterial, Fungal, or even a different Viral infection, BECAUSE THIS IS WHAT TYPICALLY KILLS BIRDS WITH PBFD! Their immune systems are compromised, opening them up for easily contracted, secondary infections, simple infections that other birds would either fight-off naturally or be able to get rid of with medications like antibiotics. PBFD birds have a very, very tough time fighting-off illnesses, even simple bacterial infections, and this is what they typically die from.

I don't know how useful Interferon is for the treatment of PBFD, I honestly don't. The fact that your vet didn't even mention the risk to his life from secondary infections, and the things that you need to do to keep him from acquiring one, leaves me less than confident in him and his treatment plan...Instead, you need to either find a Certified Avian Vet who has experience treating birds with PBFD, as this current vet admitted he has not treated a single bird with it in his career (by the way, that fact does not at all mean that he got PBFD from the shop or the breeder, don't assume that)...

The 2 things that I would do right now are #1) Start calling around and find yourself the closest Certified Avian Vet with experience treating parrots with PBFD, so that they can get your bird's records sent to them, and you can get him to him ASAP for a consultation. Even if you have to drive him a few hours one-way it will be worth it, as they will be able to assess his overall-health and make specific, tailored recommendations that are going to help him and his case, and put him on whatever medications and supplements are going to help him. They will also teach you what you need to do as far as cleaning, contact with other birds/people with birds, food prep and disposal, etc. to ward-off secondary infections that may effect him...And then it's not a situation where you'll be driving him back and forth hours every week or month, this is going to be a marathon and not a sprint, so a good, experienced vet will get you and your bird all set-up during your first visit for his long-term care and your long-term behavior that will help his care and health...

#2) Get online and find other people with parrots that have PBFD, associations, organizations, etc. THESE ARE YOUR GREATEST RESOURCES! You'll find out what helps most, what helps some, what helps few, and what ALL OWNERS need to do. It will also provide you an invaluable support system of people who know what you and your bird are going through, and give you some positive outlook, as many birds lives for years and years with this disease and have an awesome quality of life once they are put on the correct meds and supplements...
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