Hahn's Macaw possible PDD?

by Amy

I wrote in recently about acquiring a 5-6 year old Hahn's Macaw. I have brought him in to the avian vet for an exam and he was tested for PBFD, Polyoma, Pacheco's and Psittacosis, along with a gram stain. Everything came back normal - no disease. He has 5 days left in his 30 day quarantine.

I was reading an article someone sent me on PDD yesterday. I was slightly alarmed, because in the nearly one month I've had him, he has regurgitated undigested seed twice. Once was during the ride home the day I adopted him, and once when I was talking to him through his cage bars. It is different from when my other birds regurgitate for me as a mating behavior. Several seeds came up. He also shakes his head when he talks.

I made an appointment to take him in again, to get the PDD blood test. I will be on pins and needles until I hear he is well, because I fear for the health of my other beloved 5 birds. Please answer my questions - How is this disease spread? (fecally, or is it airborne), How common is it?, Would quarantine on a separate floor of the house with the door closed be sufficient? (I do wash my hands and arms thoroughly after feeding him or cleaning his cage)Also - do the symptoms I wrote about sound like PDD? He plays, eats and eliminates normally, and is steady on his feet & clutches the perch or my hand well. He appears healthy.

P,S. My "free" rescue bird will have cost me nearly $600 with the completion of this last test! Thank you for any info you can share with me!

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May 24, 2010
Hahn's macaw PDD?
by: The Avian Vet

How is this disease spread? (fecally, or is it airborne) Both

How common is it? VERY common

Would quarantine on a separate floor of the house with the door closed be sufficient? (I do wash my hands and arms thoroughly after feeding him or cleaning his cage) No. True quarantine is in a separate air space and your house probably has one HVAC unit.

Also - do the symptoms I wrote about sound like PDD? No, but that does not mean he is negative. PDD can be tricky sometimes. But, the symptoms you describe do not alarm me of PDD.

Dr B

May 22, 2010
Hahn's Macaw possible PDD?
by: Linda

I have pulled a very indepth article off the net for you to go and read, and here is the link:

Be sure and read this article from top to bottom because PDD is hard to diagnose even upon necropsy as it will not show with regular testing after death has occurred. It is a deadly, highly contageous virus that has to potential to kill every bird who has had contact with an infected bird. This means a bird kept anywhere in the house that is connected with central heat and air system as the virus is carried all over whether a door is closed or not.You cannot move any of your birds at this time for fear of spreading this if he has it. First find out if he does.

Your bird may or may not have it, and the article points to some significant signs like throwing up undigested food and there can also be undigested food in the stool. There is NO treatment and there is NO cure. The terrible thing about this disease is they've known about it since the 70's when the wildcaught birds were being imported. I had a beautiful Blue and Gold during that time who died a slow and painful death from it. In the 70's there were NO Avian vets, and in the 80's there were few. We did take bird to an Avian vet we had to drive forever to get to, and he listened to symptoms and observed bird in person and pronounced him dead on the scene. We took him home and had to watch him die from the disease and starvation as they cannot digest any food in the end stages. We did not have other birds in house at the time, and for that I will always be grateful.If this Macaw tests positive for it, go ahead and have him humanely euthanized which is what I wish to God we'd had done!

In your case, try NOT TO PANIC as that is not going to change anything. Take him to Avian Vet for a diagnosis as it sounds like he may be in the beginning stages at this point and maybe not so contageous. Move him into another part of the house, and you will need to wear coveralls over your clothes when you take care of him plus have another pair of shoes to wear in his room. You cannot move any of your birds anywhere, so don't even think of it. If they have already been exposed, they will expose birds everywhere, so please, please keep this as contained as is possible. YOU DID RIGHT TO GET THIS BIRD, and you did not make a mistake. You helped a bird who was in trouble, and hopefully, the price will not be so high you cannot see through it. Healthy birds have some resistance to it, so hopefully your other birds are going to be okay.

Let us know what happens here, and our prayers and thoughts are with you all the way during this terrible time. Thank You for writing, and we ARE HERE FOR YOU ANYTIME FOR ANY REASON.


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