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Contagion takes a macaw and a too within 2 weeks?

sith'ari

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Firstly I apologize that my information comes from a third party, so details are scant to nonexistent. Here's what I heard:
Bird owner A takes in a bird (unknown species) from bird owner B to babysit. Two weeks later bird owner A's macaw is dead whom she had for less than a month, and one of her cockatoos is dead whom she had for several years. Bird owner A blames the deaths on bird owner B.

I do not know what the symptoms were prior to death. I do not know if bird owner B's bird survived or even if they are visibly ill. I do not know if bird owner A plans to do any necropsies.

Since there is basically no information here, I ask a general question - is there any pathogen in existence that could take out two phylogenetically distant large species in the span of two weeks? Presumably with minimal direct contact?

It sounded to me more like a possible food contamination or other environmental danger. I'm wondering if there's any pathogen known to aviculture that has the capability of killing at a distance in less than a two week span. It seems a little crazy to me. I have reached out to my personal vet, but of course didn't have any more information for her than I have for you guys. I have yet to hear back, but I wanted to see if you guys have ever heard of something that virulent and rapidly deadly.

I test every new bird who comes into my aviary for several different pathogens (BFD, psittacosis/chlamydiosis and polyoma), but nothing I test for could act that quickly as far as I know. Is there something far more terrifying out there I should be testing for?
 

sith'ari

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Just to clarify, I am neither bird owner A nor B. I heard this from a friend about a mutual friend I no longer have contact with. None of my birds were involved.
 

flyzipper

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Since this is a theoretical discussion, I'll offer HPAI A(H5N1), or highly pathogenic avian influenza virus of type A of subtype H5N1 -- incubation period is 2-5 days and the first symptom might be sudden death.

It sounded to me more like a possible food contamination or other environmental danger. I'm wondering if there's any pathogen known to aviculture that has the capability of killing at a distance in less than a two week span.
It would fit that description. The birds may have been physically distant, but if the caregiver wasn't practicing very strict biosecurity, the human could have been the mode of cross contamination (through feeding, cleaning, handling, etc).
 

sith'ari

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I wondered about that. That's one of the avian flu strains, right? Generally I've thought pretty highly of this person and their hygiene practices, but with viruses it doesn't take much, does it? Even dust? I know from long-ago contact with bird owner A that they use HEPA filters throughout the house supposedly. I am unfamiliar with the method of transfer with avian flu though. About to look up the individual strains now.
 

Mizzely

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There's so many holes in this that it's hard to speculate. For one, the birds might not have died of the same thing at all - it could be coincidence. We like to draw lines between stuff of course, but sometimes it's just crappy luck.

It's also possible that the macaw that was introduced recently was actually the disease carrier that killed the macaw and cockatoo, and Bird B just happened to be there around the same time.

Lots of things can kill birds with few or no symptoms. Atherosclerosis, for instance, can kill birds with no warning. Obviously that's not contagious but again we don't know all the details. Any airborne contaminants (PTFE, PFOA, fireworks residue, cleaners, self cleaning ovens, pesticides outside, etc) can all be silent killers.

There are so many variables to consider. How far apart were the birds? Were they eating the same foods? Did they have access to poisonous plants or materials?

Without knowing symptoms or anything like that, it makes it all the harder.
 
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