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Pulmonary Hypersensitivity Disease - Macaws and Conures

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Hankmacaw

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RESPIRATORY DISEASE IN SOUTH AMERICAN SPECIES

ESPECIALLY MACAWS AND CONURES

Pulmonary Hypersensitivity Syndrome

Although good ventilation is necessary for any type of bird, it is especially critical
for South American species. Blue and Gold Macaws, as well as Sun Conures
seem especially sensitive to airborne irritants. They may develop a progressive
respiratory disease known as "pulmonary hypersensitivity syndrome” if housed in
a poorly ventilated room, especially if kept with birds that produce a great deal of
powder: Cockatoos, Cockatiels, Lovebirds or African Grey Parrots.

This powder is produced by specialized "powder down feathers" and is a white
waxy substance composed of keratin. Powder down forms a water proof barrier
for contour feathers. It is spread through the feathers when the bird grooms. The
down is composed of very fine particulate matter which becomes airborne easily
and spreads via air currents and air ducts throughout the environment.

The powder down can also cause irritation to people with respiratory problems and
allergies. People with allergies may be able to tolerate these birds, but they should
be aware of this before acquiring one of these dusty species.


In the early stages of pulmonary hypersensitivity syndrome, the bird may appear
normal, but wheeze when excited. As the condition progresses, dyspnea (difficulty
in breathing), a cough, and a bluish tinge to the facial skin (cyanosis) develops.
Hypoxia or under oxygenation of tissues often leads to an increase in the number of
circulating red blood cells (RBC) termed Polycythemia. This increases the viscosity
of the blood so that it does not flow normally. Subsequent immuno- suppression
may lead to Aspergillosis, a deadly respiratory fungal disease.


Clinical symptoms, blood work, and high resolution digital radiographs may
support the diagnosis, but a lung biopsy is necessary for confirmation.


In order to prevent this, South American Species should be housed in well
ventilated rooms without Cockatoos, Cockatiels, Lovebirds, or African Grey Parrots.


In addition, an air cleaner with a HEPA filter is highly recommended.


Unfortunately, this pulmonary disease is often advanced when the owner first notice
the problem get it diagnosed by a trained avian veterinarian familiar with this
syndrome. Certain drugs may provide temporary relief, but there is no cure for this
syndrome.

(Underline added)
 

Mizzely

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Good information, maybe should be a sticky in diseases, macaw motorway, and conure court :)
 

expressmailtome

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Matthew
This is important for everyone with macaws and conures to read.

Matt
 

Stormcloud

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Good post ML. Important info as to why it is advantageous to give these birds "outside time" every few days where possible.
 
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