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Chlamydiosis (Psittacosis, Ornithosis)

By: Dr. Branson Ritchie

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Treatment

Treatment must be supervised by an avian veterinarian. Treatment usually takes 30 to 45 days, or longer. Your veterinarian will advise you on the best way to treat your bird. The most common treatments are:

  • Injectable doxycycline
  • Oral doxycycline
  • Doxycycline medicated food or water
  • Fluids and supportive nutrition

    Home Care

    There are several things you should do at home:

  • Keep your infected bird in isolation during treatment.

  • Thoroughly clean and disinfect your bird's enclosures, food bowls and non-porous toys and perches. Discard porous (wood, natural fibers, rope, etc.) objects that cannot be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected and do not replace them until treatment is completed.

  • On a daily basis, monitor fecal output to insure proper food consumption and digestion.

  • Monitor weight daily.

    Preventive Care

    There are several things you can do to prevent your bird from chlamidiosis.

  • Establish the chlamydia status of your bird using a combination of an antibody test and a DNA probe-based test. To find an avian veterinarian in your area that can test for chlamydia, contact the Infectious Disease Laboratory at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine (706-542-8092).

  • Keep your bird out of direct or indirect contact with other birds.

  • Enjoy the bird you have. If you decide to add a new bird, it should be quarantined for at least 90 days and be examined by an avian veterinarian at the beginning and end of quarantine.

  • Have any new bird tested using a combination of an antibody test and a DNA probe-based test during quarantine.

  • Purchase young birds from sources that provide documentation that each chick is tested for chlamydia prior to sale.

  • Never return a neonate to the nursery if it has been exposed to other birds.

  • Use biosecure-shipping containers to prevent exposure to chlamydia during transport.

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