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CHLAMYDIOSIS/PSITTACOSIS

 

1. What is Chlamydiosis?

Chlamydiosis is a disease caused by an intracellular bacteria called chlamydia psittaci. It is seen in all species of birds. It is very common in most parrot species and in pigeons.

 

2. Does chlamydia affect humans?

Yes. The common signs are flu-like with a high fever, severe headaches and a dry cough.

If untreated it can develop into atypical pneumonia and meningitis.

Even birds without clinical signs can pass chlamydia to humans.

 

3. How is the bird infected with Chlamydia?

The micro-organism is found in feather dust and dried up faeces and is dispersed by air circulation. It will survive for up to several months in the environment. Chlamydia is regularly or intermittently shed in the faeces, urine, nasal and ocular discharges. Many birds with no clinical signs can be shedding chlamydia.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

4. What are the clinical signs of acute Chlamydiosis

“Fluffed up” and lethargic; conjunctivitis and sinusitis; yellowish to greenish droppings; difficulty breathing; weight loss and dehydration; death.

 

5. What are the clinical signs of low grade or protracted Chlamydiosis?

Progressive emaciation; greenish diarrhoea; conjunctivitis; convulsion and tremors; poor fertility.

6. Do all birds with chlamydia have clinical signs?

No. Many birds are asymptomatic carriers. They will often only show clinical signs if stressed (new surroundings, moulting or breeding).

 

7. How is Chlamydiosis identified?

It is hard to conclusively identify. Helpful hints are the clinical signs, antibody tests (such as the Immunocomb Chlamydia test) and cytology of the conjunctiva and blood cells. A PCR test is also available.

 

8. What is the treatment for Chlamydiosis?

Doxycycline is the preferred treatment for Chlamydiosis. The treatment is for 45 days.

The medication is available as an in water or oral medication or preferably by weekly injection.

 

9. What additional treatment procedures may be needed?

The cage should be cleaned thoroughly daily and then disinfected. Quarantine all new birds until treated for chlamydia. High energy soft-liquid food supplements for emaciated birds.

Fluids intravenously or subcutaneously may be needed in cases of severe vomiting.

A heat source e.g. a 40 watt light globe. Treatment of the often present secondary infections.

 

10. What preventative measures are needed?

At a bird’s yearly health check it should be examined for any signs of chlamydia and then preferably tested or treated for chlamydia if necessary. Preferably all new birds should be tested/treated for chlamydia.            

   

 

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