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Polyomavirus in Budgerigars (French Molt)

By: Dr. Branson Ritchie

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  • Optimal treatment for your companion bird requires a combination of home and professional veterinary care. Follow-up can be critical, especially if your bird does not rapidly improve.

  • Make certain you administer all prescribed medications at the appropriate time intervals. Contact your veterinarian immediately if you are having difficulties treating your bird as prescribed. If you are having problems, it may be best to hospitalize your bird to assure that a proper course of treatment is administered.

  • Any bird suspected of having polyomavirus or that has been exposed to birds with polyomavirus should be isolated from other birds during the recovery period. The common practice of placing a hospital or "sick" room in the same building or airspace with a psittacine nursery is contrary to good medical practices.

  • As with most viruses, organic debris such as blood, soil, nesting material or feces would be expected to protect polyomavirus from disinfectants that do not contain detergents. Caretakers should always wear a dust mask when handling the waste of birds. To reduce dust, use a misting bottle filled with disinfectant to moisten excrement and feather debris before handling.

  • Outbreaks of polyomavirus tend to be consistent in budgerigar aviaries that utilize a constant breeding cycle, while the disease appears to be self-limiting in aviaries raising larger psittacine birds with discontinuous breeding cycles. It has been suggested that in polyomavirus disease, free budgerigar nestlings can be produced by interrupting the breeding cycle, removing all but the older breeding birds and disinfecting the aviary.

  • Initiate a vaccination program in multi-bird settings.

    Vaccination

    An inactivated vaccine can be used to reduce viral activity in multi-bird settings. Successfully vaccinated budgerigar hens have been shown to produce chicks that are resistant to disease during the most critical early weeks of life. To find an avian veterinarian in your area that can vaccinate for avian polyomavirus, contact Biomune (913-894-0230).

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