3 Things You Need To Know About Psittacine Beak And Feather Disease

Your parrots can develop many different diseases, including psittacine beak and feather disease. This viral disease is very serious and can lead to death, so all parrot owners need to be aware of it. Here are three things you need to know about psittacine beak and feather disease.

How does the virus spread?

Psittacine beak and feather disease is caused by avian circovirus. The virus is very contagious and can be spread through the air or through contaminated surfaces, like perches or food.

The virus is very hardy. It is resistant to many types of disinfectants and can remain in the environment year after year. If you purchase second-hand cages, toys, or other items for your parrots, the items could still be contaminated by their first owners.

What are the signs of the disease?

Despite its name, psittacine beak and feather disease doesn't usually affect the beak, though in some cases the beak can become deformed, split, or broken. The feathers, on the other hand, can be affected in many ways. Your pet's feathers may fall out, or their feathers may become misshapen or stunted. Affected birds may also be missing their powder down. If your parrot has brightly colored feathers, you may notice that their feathers lose their pigment.

In addition to these feather-associated problems, your parrot will suffer additional health issues due to the immunosuppression associated with the disease. These issues include bacterial or fungal infections, and may prove fatal for your immunocompromised pet. If you notice the signs of psittacine beak and feather disease, seek veterinary attention for your parrot immediately.

Can it be treated?

Psittacine beak and feather disease can't be cured, but in some cases, it can be managed. Your vet can offer supplements like vitamins and probiotics to help boost your pet's immune system and to protect them from opportunistic infections. If these infections develop, your vet can offer antibiotics, antifungals, or other appropriate medications, as well as supportive treatments, if necessary.

Infected parrots can live for a long time with good care, so with the help of your vet, you can prolong your pet's life while maintaining their quality of life. In most cases, euthanization will eventually be required. Your vet may advise this course of action when your parrot's disease becomes too advanced to manage.

If you think your parrot has psittacine beak and feather disease, take them to an exotics vet right away. Contact a center like Edinburgh Animal Hospital for more information.