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Aspergillosis (Sad Update)

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Hankmacaw

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ASPERGILLOSIS


Aspergillosis is a fungal disease that in parrots has a very high mortality rate. The Aspergillus fungus is around us all of the time and we humans, as well as parrots, generally are not susceptible to the disease unless we are immune compromised or somehow get infested with a very large dose of the fungus. Aspergillus is native in soil and is especially virulent in warm damp soil such as potted plant soil or rich composted soil like the soil in your flower beds and garden.

To understand the true danger of fungal infections, one needs to understand a little about fungi in general. Fungi are most similar to plants, but are not plants. The truly difficult issue with a fungus is that they reproduce through emitting spores (seeds). Spores from fungi from thousands of years ago have been found and when given the proper conditions produce fungus. Spores are known to remain viable through very high temperatures and extreme low temperatures.

My veterinarian says that Aspergillosis in parrots can present in a hundred different ways. Therefore making it difficult to advise the owner to look for x, y and z for an Asper diagnosis. Asper can be chronic or acute. It can be difficult to diagnose and is most certainly difficult and very expensive to treat.

For those of you who are geeks (like me) and want to know the knitty-gritty about the Aspergillus fungus this is the definitive site for information:
The Aspergillus/Aspergillosis Website


This site is the avian aspergillosis section of the same organization:

A word about peanuts. Peanuts, especially in shell peanuts are notorious for giving birds Asper. Aflotoxins can also be present on peanuts that have hosted the fungus. Peanuts are grown in the ground – where the Aspergillus fungus lives. There are many nuts that are safer, some such as in shell almonds and Brazil nuts have been known to have Aspergillosus , although the occurrence is rare in those nuts. Peanuts are also very high in saturated fats and for birds that are susceptible to fatty liver disease and heart problems, peanuts will contribute to the potential. My personal rule is DON’T FEED PEANUTS. You will find that the great majority of veterinarians feel the same as I.

Additional information about Avian Aspergillosis:
Excellent article: Very complete with several articles: http://www.avianweb.com/aspergillosis.html

Aspergillosis has killed my beloved GW, Hank. He is still alive, but suffers from nephritis, liver damage, air-saculitis and most serious granulomas in his lungs and pulmonary fibrosis. As my vet said (after 14 years of fighting Asper and it’s effects) “We have lost the battle”. Hank is now on palliative care. How long do we have together – who knows. I don’t.

ML
 

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ncGreyBirdLady

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Thank You ML for providing The Avenue with this information:hug8:I have made it a sticky so it will not get lost!
 

suncoast

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I'm wondering if they can get it from dirt? Trinket and Truely both like to dig around in my potted plants and orchids.

ML I am so sorry about Hank. :hug8:

Ginger
 

Hankmacaw

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Ginger, Potted plant soil is very dangerous, because it is nice and rich in nutrients, warm and moist. That is the perfect home for Aspergillus fungus and other molds/fungi.

As pointed out in my post and all of the references potted plants and garden soil are prime sources of massive amounts of Aspergillus.

Thanks - ML
 

Maw's fids

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Bad stuff! I'll be praying for you and Hank.
 

JLcribber

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Great post ML. Asper is everywhere in our environment. It surprises me that there aren't full blown epidemics of it around. It's so important to feed a good diet and keep our birds as fit as we can so they have a good immune system to fight these nasty things.
 

Brigidt36

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ML, thanks for the good information. I am so sorry about your Hank. Keeping you in my prayers.
 

Hankmacaw

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Thanks all for your good wishes.

John - my vet thinks that many more birds die of Asper than we are aware of. When a bird is hit with acute Asper it can die within just a day. So who knows how many of those birds that are just found dead on the bottom of their cage, died from Asper.
ML
 

Hankmacaw

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Asper is not infectious, but it can be communicable. Meaning it is very unlikely that another bird will get it from being around an infected bird. If two birds are housed together and one feeds the other or a large amount of Asper fungi are aspirated into a common feed bowl, the answer is yes it could happen.
ML
 

J*M*L

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Great thread. I'd been thinking of putting some potted plants in the bird room for them to play in. Now I think I'll pass.
 

piercesdesigns

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Cindy came to us with chronic asper. We healed her up as best we could, but there was so much damage, along with smoking damage.

I contracted asper from moving into a home where an unknown pinhole sized leak in a water line was feeding a nice black mold colony in the walls and under the carpet. It took months of nasty treatments to rid my lungs of it.

ML I think about Hank all the time. I send him healing and peace.
 

Hankmacaw

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Thanks Debbie. And I think of you two and Cindy a lot.
ML
 

Fuzzy

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Thank you so much for posting all this information about Asper, Hankmacaw. I don't know if you or anyone can give me some answers, but thought I would ask anyway. I have taken on Ollie (OWA) knowing that he has Asper. The vet said after doing an endoscopy, that Ollie has "encapsulated aspergilloma in cranial thorasic air sac with associated hyperaemia/inflammation of adgacent air sac fields." I was told by someone else that if it is encapsulated I don't need to worry about it. But reading the articles, it seems that it will naturally encapsulate if in an air sac... and that the spores will continue to spread through the blood etc. Ollie has had a course of Lamisil and I am continuing to nebulize him daily with F10. Does anyone know if this is the case... that it could still spread through his blood? I may have to speak to my own avian vet about it, but Ollie says he doesn't want to see a vet again (though an animal communicator) and I am trying to uphold his wishes. Is there anything I can do to stop it holistically? Ollie is also chronically Vit A deficient... which I am working hard to correct.
 

Barb E

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What are the symptoms of Aspergillosis?

My Ollie loves digging throught the earth of my potted tree and grinding up the earth.
OMG, I never realized it was dangerous for him. I feel so stupid because I just was at the Vet and he is being treated for bacterial infection in his throat.
Now, I read this and wonder.....

I asked the Vet to look in his nostrils because I could smell an odd odor coming from his nose and he has a whistling sound when he breaths sometimes.
I was worried that he might have enhaled something and it was obstructed.
She looked and did'nt see anything.

Should I have him tested for Aspergillosis.

I love this bird so much and if something happened to him I could'nt handle it.
 

Danita

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I want to bump this thread up in memory of Hank :sad1:
Maybe someone will read this and think of sweet Hank who passed away this past weekend despite Mary Lynn fighting tooth and nail to keep him.

ML,
I admire everything you have done, educating people on disease and giving Hank the very best life possible, sparing no expense.
You, Hank and Jasper have many friends here.
Take care of yourselves :sad1:
 

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wonderb

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Oh no, I'm so sorry. :( I know what a struggle it was to get Hank healthy. Rest in peace, Hank.
 

lzver

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I'm not aware of Hanks full story, but fly free Hank. It always breaks my heart to hear about another bird lost :(
 
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