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Pictures !!! Severe Burns from UVA/B Full Spectrum Lamp !!!

Tanya

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Thank you all for your kindness and comments. I went to bed right after posting and was surprised by the amount of response when I checked this morning.

One suggestion I have is try Manuka honey on the wounds. It worked wonders and quickly healed my Dexters' wounds.
Honey is pretty great stuff. It's antimicrobial and soothing. I'll look into it for future scrapes and such. HEALx is an aloe-based product from the same company that makes Harrison's pellets and I'm nervous to switch half way through on this one.

I also wonder if Rhubarb was also extra sensitive due to being immune suppressed from ABV?
I'm not sure about immune suppression. I suspect it might be related to damaged feathers that looked as if they were fairly normal but were not as protective as they should be. Also, I think it was probably the kind and amount of UV the lamp was putting out (more on this below).

I have that exact bulb on my gecko and it gets HOT since reptiles are cold blooded and need heat to digest food. There are special bulbs that remain cool designed for parrots. We use this full spectrum for Kiwi and it doesn't get hot at all: Full Spectrum 15w light bulb by FeatherBrite
That is a good point. I'd gotten the heating lamp because our house was on the cool side and her little heater was low to the ground. (Side note: My husband voluntarily turned the thermostat up 6F (3.3C) when he realized she was chilly... this is a BIG deal for our house and I realized how much he loves our little Rhurbarb.) Her normal cage is so big it was hard to position a light and the heater so they were shining on the same point. I did do the 5-minute hand test to see if it would be too hot 3 ft (1 m) under the light. It was mildly warm but not hot. Though there was a very, very faint tingle in my skin by the end. That should've been my warning sign, but I didn't know what was causing that feeling.

I have always been apprehensive about the use of these lamps, I have never used them for my birds and don't think I ever will.
When I was in search of full.spectrum lighting my avian told me to make sure that I did not use those for reptiles but ones specifically for birds as there was a difference.
Thank you for this post. I was getting ready to buy lighting for my birds and this helped with my decision.
Parrots in the wild don't spend many hours under the sun so a large direct output of UV is harmful to them (vets have been seeing more cases of squamous carcinomas as well as burned corneas) if it's too close. Clamp-on lamps or floor lamps over a cage are both no-nos. The only safe light is the one in the ceiling fixture.
I have to start by saying that not all lamps are created equal. Some lamps are SAFE to use and some are NOT SAFE. The herp (reptile) people have known this for awhile and most references on the subject are from them. They are motivated by experiences like this poor baby chameleon, which died from overexposure to UV light:
PantherUVBBlisteringLeftSide.jpg
(The scab on the side of the chameleon looks very similar to what I saw on Rhubarb's back and elbow.)

Avian full-spectrum lighting is a relatively new concept for many of us so we're still in somewhat uncharted water. After this happened I went a-reading and got myself educated on the topic. This will be a bit long and sciencey but it's worth knowing if/when you do decide on a lamp.

Ultraviolet (UV) light comes in three flavors: UVA (high energy/short wavelength), UVB (higher energy/shorter wavelength), and UVC (highest energy/shortest wavelength). Most of us have heard of UVA/UVB because some, though not all, of the UVA/B in sunlight get through our atmosphere to the ground. UVC and x-rays are very high in energy and are blocked by the air. This is a good thing because they are ionizing radiation and DNA-based life would have a hard time existing with a big dose of daily radiation. Glass also blocks UVA and UVB light, which is why people say that letting birds sit in a sunny window isn't enough to get vitamin D. UVA/B is so energetic that when it hits the proto-vitamin D on the feathers of a bird, which is secreted by the preen gland and spread around during grooming, there is a chemical change and the vitamin D molecule is converted to the active form. The same thing happens in our skin when we go out in the sun.

The problem is that some lamps have too much UVA and B and some even emit UVC. That last group is the most dangerous because our birds never see even a hint of UVC in the wild. Unless they happen to be flying around at 25 mi (40 km) above the surface of the earth. Keep in mind that Mount Everest is only 5.5 mi (8.8 km) high.

There are two ways the UV output is measured. One is simply the energy per area (in microWatts per square centimeter) and the other is UV index. UV index is a linear scale weighed toward the highest energy UV, the kind that is the most damaging to cells. For an idea of the relative safety of different levels of UV index, there is a helpful chart from Welcome to Solartech
Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 10.21.27 AM.png

Lamps that are in the UV index 1-2 range ARE SAFE for use around birds when used as recommended and with the cords out of reach of curious beaks. Above UV index 2, be careful! UV index 3 or 4 may be safe for short times or at greater distances from the bird. DO NOT use lamps with a UV index ABOVE 5! The following table is from UV Lighting for Reptiles: A new problem with high UVB output fluorescent compact lamps and tubes?
Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 10.27.36 AM.png

Based on my research, UV lamps can generally be grouped as follows (see UV Guide UK - Ultraviolet Light for Reptiles - 2005 Reptile Lighting Survey for more details).

LEAST RISK - Fluorescent Tubes
SOME RISK - Compact Fluorescent Bulbs
HIGH RISK - Mercury Vapor Flood Lamps
VERY HIGH RISK - Mercury Vapor Spot and Narrow Flood Lamps

Remember that the closer the bird is to the light the higher the UV exposure! When in doubt, INCREASE DISTANCE and REDUCE EXPOSURE TIME! Also, beware of dangerous reptile bulbs repackaged as "avian." This ZooMed AvianSun 5.0 compact Fluorescent bulb is identical to the ZooMed ReptiSun 5.0 in the table above.
Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 10.41.00 AM.png
There's been so much research done by good people who keep reptiles, I think it's worthwhile to take a look at the information they've gathered before endangering the eyes and skin of our sweet birdies.
:gal2:

Additional sources:
UVB Mystic tube from Big Apple Herp tested with a meter results inside :) - Chameleon Forums
Exo Terra : New UV rating system
ReptileUV Mega-Ray Mercury Vapour Lamps for Reptiles - Test Report UV Guide 2006
 
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jmfleish

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It's pretty well documented that NONE of these lights will ever produce Vitamin D3 for your birds. I would highly recommend that the bird world just stop using them. If you want your bird to get Vit D, supplement or take them outside.
 

Tanya

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It's pretty well documented that NONE of these lights will ever produce Vitamin D3 for your birds. I would highly recommend that the bird world just stop using them. If you want your bird to get Vit D, supplement or take them outside.
Do you have a reference for that? As you may guess, I'm currently not a big proponent of using lamps. But as far as I can tell, the physical interaction of ultraviolet light (UVB at wavelengths between 290 and 320 nm) with 7-dehydrocholesterol is SUFFICIENT to induce formation of previtamin-D, which is then spontaneously converts to 1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol (the active form of vitamin D), even when outside the body and under an artificial UV light source.
http://www.niwa.co.nz/sites/niwa.co.nz/files/action_spectrum_for_vit_d_synthesis.pdf - cell-free experiment done in alcohol with an artificial source of UV
UVB-induced conversion of 7-dehydrocholesterol to 1alpha,25-dihydro... - PubMed - NCBI - experiment on cultured human cells from the early 2000's
In vivo and in vitro conversion of 7-dehydrocholesterol into vitami... - PubMed - NCBI - disturbing rat experiment from the late 70s
Vitamin D - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - general information on vitamin D synthesis

I agree that the best-case scenario would be to take our birds outside and let them play in the sun for a couple hours a day. That isn't always feasible due to to climate or safety concerns. I wrote about the lamps because in the cases where a bird can't safely go outside for months on end there should be a safe option for indoor full-spectrum light.

Supplements are ok if used appropriately. Since most supplements contain the active form of vitamin D, it is possible to overdose. The avian body is clever about not making/absorbing more if it has enough already... which is why it's almost impossible to OD from sunshine and vitamin-rich foods. When the active form is eaten at too high a concentration, none of the body's scale-down efforts will help and vitamin D, which is fat-soluble, can build up until it becomes toxic.
Vitamin D Toxicicity in Birds | petMD - General information on vitamin D supplement overdose
SHEDDING SOME LIGHT ON THE SUBJECT - More detailed information on avian vitamin D from the Hagen Avicultural Research Institute
http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/DRI/DRI_Calcium_Vitamin_D/AppendixG.pdf - Vitamin D overdose in humans
I don't have access to good veterinary journals (my school/education deals with human illnesses) so I had trouble digging up any case studies on avian overdose of on vitamin D supplements.
 
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gibsongrrrl

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oh gosh, poor baby rhubarb :jawdrop1: . I was just at the vets this weekend and was talking with her about full spectrum. She also said the best way is to get outside, but recommended the vital-life full spectrum bulbs. she said it's the only one that really does anything. She has a huge study she did of vitamin d absorption on the wall of her clinic. Trying to find it online, but no luck yet. So sorry your little one has had so many issues lately. give her a gentle scritch from her SS :heart: :heart: :heart:
 

Tanya

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oh gosh, poor baby rhubarb :jawdrop1: . I was just at the vets this weekend and was talking with her about full spectrum. She also said the best way is to get outside, but recommended the vital-life full spectrum bulbs. she said it's the only one that really does anything. She has a huge study she did of vitamin d absorption on the wall of her clinic. Trying to find it online, but no luck yet. So sorry your little one has had so many issues lately. give her a gentle scritch from her SS :heart: :heart: :heart:
I'm not above admitting when I'm wrong.... and that study would be a good addition to the thread. Will give her a scritch just from you. I know she'll LOVE it!
 

jmfleish

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Do you have a reference for that? As you may guess, I'm currently not a big proponent of using lamps. But as far as I can tell, the physical interaction of ultraviolet light (UVB at wavelengths between 290 and 320 nm) with 7-dehydrocholesterol is SUFFICIENT to induce formation of previtamin-D, which is then spontaneously converts to 1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol (the active form of vitamin D), even when outside the body and under an artificial UV light source.
http://www.niwa.co.nz/sites/niwa.co.nz/files/action_spectrum_for_vit_d_synthesis.pdf - cell-free experiment done in alcohol with an artificial source of UV
UVB-induced conversion of 7-dehydrocholesterol to 1alpha,25-dihydro... - PubMed - NCBI - experiment on cultured human cells from the early 2000's
In vivo and in vitro conversion of 7-dehydrocholesterol into vitami... - PubMed - NCBI - disturbing rat experiment from the late 70s
Vitamin D - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - general information on vitamin D synthesis

I agree that the best-case scenario would be to take our birds outside and let them play in the sun for a couple hours a day. That isn't always feasible due to to climate or safety concerns. I wrote about the lamps because in the cases where a bird can't safely go outside for months on end there should be a safe option for indoor full-spectrum light.

Supplements are ok if used appropriately. Since most supplements contain the active form of vitamin D, it is possible to overdose. The avian body is clever about not making/absorbing more if it has enough already... which is why it's almost impossible to OD from sunshine and vitamin-rich foods. When the active form is eaten at too high a concentration, none of the body's scale-down efforts will help and vitamin D, which is fat-soluble, can build up until it becomes toxic.
Vitamin D Toxicicity in Birds | petMD - General information on vitamin D supplement overdose
SHEDDING SOME LIGHT ON THE SUBJECT - More detailed information on avian vitamin D from the Hagen Avicultural Research Institute
http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/DRI/DRI_Calcium_Vitamin_D/AppendixG.pdf - Vitamin D overdose in humans
I don't have access to good veterinary journals (my school/education deals with human illnesses) so I had trouble digging up any case studies on avian overdose of on vitamin D supplements.

It's been talked about on here ad nauseum and I've done enough research into it over the last decade to find that there is no supporting evidence to prove that a bird can get Vit D3 from a light source other than the ones that your bird got burned from which is why I don't use them. I know of several people who have use volt meters to measure what comes out of the various bulbs and they do not work. Do your own research and come to your own conclusions. It's all hype.
 

Tanya

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It's been talked about on here ad nauseum and I've done enough research into it over the last decade to find that there is no supporting evidence to prove that a bird can get Vit D3 from a light source other than the ones that your bird got burned from which is why I don't use them. I know of several people who have use volt meters to measure what comes out of the various bulbs and they do not work. Do your own research and come to your own conclusions. It's all hype.
I acknowledge your opinion that “it’s all hype.” And I agree that people should do their own research and come to their own conclusions. I also respect that everyone with a mind will have a unique opinion… and I’m not here to quibble over opinions.

What I do KNOW is the gut-wrenching fact that “hype” without proper information led to a choice that burned ultraviolet holes in my baby.

I searched the forum with all kinds of different keywords and couldn’t find anything else on full-spectrum lamp burns. There’s lots of talk about full-spectrum lighting, but my point here is that birds can be HURT by the wrong kind of lamp.

And while you and I may not want lamps (for our own, possibly different, reasons) there are people who (for their own, possibly different, reasons) will want lamps. My comment on lamp safety is for them, so that they will know which is the LEAST RISKY choice for a full-spectrum light. It really doesn’t matter what you or I think about the science of UV and vitamin D and wavelengths and chemical changes. I’m old enough to know that I can’t really change a mind that's already set. :) I can only provide information and let people make their own choices. Hopefully whoever reads this thread will make choices that are better and safer than my own.

:gal2:
 

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mmmmq your post is very important and i don't think anyone is questioning your warning. :hug8:
 

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For sunlamps, you should only use Avian specific lamps. I'm sorry you learned the hard way. Poor birdie. :sadhug2:
 

Tanya

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For sunlamps, you should only use Avian specific lamps. I'm sorry you learned the hard way. Poor birdie. :sadhug2:
Agreed! And be super careful about dangerous reptile bulbs repackaged as "avian."
 

Tanya

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mmmmq your post is very important and i don't think anyone is questioning your warning. :hug8:
Thank you... I was worried because I didn't want my comments on uv index and lamp safety to be mistaken as pushing FOR lamps.

I happened to stumble into a situation where I used one of the most dangerous lamps because I was so scared for my sick baby and didn't do the hours of reading to make a safer choice.

I still kick myself for my stupidity when I put medicine on her sore back every morning and evening.
 

SueA555

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I'm so glad that Rhubarb will be okay. Don't beat yourself up -- you did the best that you could do.
 

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And to think that I was looking into buying one of these lamps for my birds... I'm so glad your Rhubarb is doing better!
 

Tanya

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*** UPDATE ***

Rhubarb is gaining weight! Hooray! As of this morning she's put on 31 of the 44 grams she lost in December. She's even trying her wings a bit! Yesterday when I walked past her big cage she leaned toward it. So I got close and said "Cage. Down." She did a BIG step over the gap, then turned around to come back to me. It's the exercise game we used to play every morning. So I said "Come here." and she did a little hop back. I made the space a bit bigger and she did a big hop to the cage. Then again, a big hop and with a flap. She maxed out at about 24" (0.6 m) and wrapped up the morning fun with a long nap.

A moment ago I was giving scritches and checking out the progress on her back. I noticed that the scab came off! :dance5:I had to take a picture of her new skin. And the cute pins where the big angry red scab used to be!
back.png
The ugly bit at the bottom is where the wound still hasn't closed over her pelvis bone. I think we'll have to talk to the vet about debridement and a stitching when we go in on Monday.

Also, her elbows are doing MUCH better:
Elbows.png
Only one little scab left on the right, and tons of new feathers coming in on both wings.

Her feathers are a bit matted from HEALx accumulation. We've been giving her a bath once a week on Saturday afternoon so this is super-unwashed birdy time. Couldn't resist posting pics tho... She's doing so much better!
:gal2:
 
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Birdiemarie

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Such good news! She's looking better! Keep healing, Rhubarb! :heart: :hug8:
 

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I keep forgetting to tell you that I love the name Rhubarb.

She really is doing great. About Milk Thistle it is far better to give it by mouth by syringe. It is also an opportunity to give her n inspection.
 

Tanya

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I keep forgetting to tell you that I love the name Rhubarb.

She really is doing great. About Milk Thistle it is far better to give it by mouth by syringe. It is also an opportunity to give her n inspection.
I'm a sneaky inspector. She gets scritches only for a bit... then I pause for a moment to check her back or apply medicine. If she holds still, she gets more scritches after my check! Otherwise we wait until she forgets that I bumped a pin (her main complaint and reason to move around) and gives me a face puff. Then I start the process over. This probably works because she's kinda lazy even when she's 100% and she's ALWAYS hopeful someone will pet her face. It didn't take her long realize that holding still meant MORE scritches. It probably helps that she seems to enjoy having the HEALx put on, dropping her wings and holding very still when I start with her back.

Hmmm... Now that I think about it... I hope I'm not sending amorous signals with all this back "preening" and attention. :facepalm: Oh well. What's done is done and soon enough she won't get any more mini medicinal massages (i.e. "Medicine time!" and "Picture time!").
 
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