Avian vet talks about the prevention and using of vitamins. PART III

March 31st, 2015 | by LubosTomiska
Avian vet talks about the prevention and using of vitamins. PART III

Read also the previous part of this interview about PDD:

Lubica Necasova talks about a very common disease in parrots – PDD. PART II


So when we acquire a new bird, quarantine is always necessary?

You are right. Even if you don’t plan to do any examination, at least 1 month quarantine is important. There is a good chance that if the bird is infected by some disease, we will see symptoms during this period. That’s how you can prevent to spread the infection directly to your facility. On the other hand, there are some many diseases and we can’t test them all. But I believe that we should as much as we can to keep our collection healthy.

Do you have any statistics from your clinic according to which infections are the most common in parrots?

The most common disease are digestive bacterial infections. So it doesn’t include PDD, however, symptoms can be very similar. Bacterial diseases are curable, often it is Salmonela or something similar. All parrots are sensitive to such infections and bacteria are waiting for their chance when the immune system is weak. It doesn’t have to be a mistake of the breeder. As for viral infections, PBFD is very common one as well as Polyomavirus. Symptoms can be similar again. Since imports from the wild are banned Pacheco disease is very rare. And that’s good because it was a huge problem. Then there are some special issues as in lories which have their own specific viral diseases which can be spread in your collection quickly. But in general, PBFD is the most common one.



What about regular examination of our birds. Should we let our vet test feces and blood of whole collection once a year?

It depends if you have 50 parrots or just a pet. In case of pets I recommend to do regular examination once a year since they are 3 years old. The problem in birds is that you can’t find out much from visual examination. When a dog comes to my clinic, I look at it, palpate it and then I know a lot. This doesn’t work in birds. The best way is to exam every bird in the collection once a year. However, it can be expensive.

When you have a collection then you need to consider it as health of the group, not individual. Then it’s good to let test mixed samples of feces if there are not any worms. We can also try to test chlamydias. But that’s all. For other kind of tests you need to have fresh samples so the vet needs to take it in person. I think that it would be an enourmous piece of luck if the regular vet visit would reveal any serious infection in your collection. However, the vet can give you some useful advice related to diet, husbandry, facility, …

Do you visit your clients?

Yes, if there is any trouble then I visit them. I also do some preventive examination in three facilities once a year. There I mostly shape the overgrown beaks, take blood samples in birds which deal with some chronical issues etc. The very important part of health care is what do when your bird gets infected. You have to find the cause of this problem. I always recommend to do an autopsy in dead birds. It’s sad but you can find out most of information about the disease as soon as the bird dies within the autopsy.

Your practice is quite long. Do you think that the knowledge of breeders about health issues is getting better?

It’s definitely not still same, it’s much better now. People know that if the bird gets sick then some vet examination is necessary.



What about the winter? How should breeders keep the birds in this season?

Don’t let the birds suffer of the winter. Somebody says that it can be good to don’t heat the facility. In my opinion it’s nonsense. They can and probably will survive but the cold is enormous stressful for them. The organism has to face the stress comming from intensive termoregulation and it can affect the health of our birds for the future. Parrots come mostly from tropical or subtropical areas, why should we keep them in temperature bellow zero or +5°C?

Don’t forget to ventilate the inside part of your facility. The air is necessary to circulate. Bacteria, moulds, viruses can stay on dust particles and spread easily. You can also use a ionizator. I have seen a „dustmeter“ which can be used. Sometimes you can feel high amount of dust also in your throat. There is even a disease of breeders which comes from the inhalating of the dust. I don’t remember the name now. The dust particles are so big that they stay in our lungs.

And what about feeding in the winter? Should we provide to our birds just some basic diet and start feeding with rich food before the breeding season?

I believe that we should give fruits and vegetables in winter as well. Then in january, february we can start with sunflower, sprouted seeds, egg food, … In my opinion, preparation for the breeding season should be longer than just 2 weeks. I think it’s not enough.

What synthetic vitamins should we give to birds?

I don’t like applying of vitamins to water. I think it has no sense because the light and water will destroy them so they are usable for a very short time. What is more, birds don’t drink much.


File:Fruits veggies.png

Fruits and vegetable is the best source of vitamins. Use them rather than synthetic ones.


And probiotics?

That’s another important question. Probiotics should consist of live bacteria. If you put them to water then I’m not sure they will survive. If it hypotheticaly gets into the body it has to pass through the proventriculus in which low pH occurs. Anyway, if we want to apply vitamins then it’s better to add them to the food. Producers of probiotics say that we can add it to water as well but in my opinion it has no effect then.

So to your mind it’s better to use natural sources of vitamins rather than synthetic?

I observe such psychological trend on my clients (breeders). They love to give some supplements to their birds. If they don’t have to catch the birds then it’s the most comfortable way for them. So they have several schedules like on Monday I give this vitamin, on Wednesday those probiotics etc. Finally, breeders are very satisfied they do a lot for health of their birds. However, I’m quite sceptical about giving of supplemental vitamins. Don’t forget that all these products are mostly commercial stuff. If you look at the label on the product and read there that this vitamin is good for all kinds of birds in all age then it’s weird. Today, we have some many products on the market and commercialism is enormous. Of course if it doesn’t harm your bird then you can use it but is the effect really obvious? That’s why I prefer natural sources.




 Title photo: (c) Jan Potucek


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