Proventicular Dilation Disease

by Jim

We recently lost our Greenwing Macaw to PDD. She was our only bird. How long should we wait to get another bird? Our vet said to wait two weeks before getting another bird. We got rid of everything except the cage which I disinfected with bleach. Is there any other precations to take?

Comments for Proventicular Dilation Disease

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Nov 01, 2012
macaw who cant digest fruits and sugars
by: Anonymous

? anyone had a macaw who cant digest fruits and sugars will it be or is it a problem now or in future?
found a bird I may adopt but worried and dont want to get my other sick if it is serious? thanks

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Feb 14, 2010
I hate to disagree...
by: Tony Brusate

Jim --

If this was your only bird, there may be little chance of re-exposure. It is believed that the virus which causes PDD can only survive outside the host for a short period of time, as evidenced by no one ever being able to culture PDD though several have tried. Although the bird-to-bird transmission routes are unknown, fairly direct oral-oral or fecal-oral vectors (birds regurgitating to each other or picking at each other's droppings) are the primary suspects. Note that most researchers believe that PDD can be dormant in a host bird for as many as eight years before the bird shows symptoms, and there is some suspicion that budgies and cockatiels can carry PDD without showing any symptoms their whole lives. But with no bird in your home, it is unlikely that the contagion will "hang around" or even be able to survive.

I lost a lorikeet to PDD a few years ago. We have budgies and we are waiting for them to pass before we get another bird. When they do pass, we will clean well then wait a few months -- my guess is about six just to be safe -- and then get another bigger bird. If I were "cleaning" a cage which had housed a PDD bird, I would remove and replace all the wood just in case. I would clean the cage well with a mild bleach solution and I would leave it in the summer sun for several afternoons. Then I'd just let it sit for a while.

When looking for another bird, you might consider testing the bird first with the Schubot Center. Dr. Tizard now has a fecal test for ABV, a virus suspected to be a precursor to full-blown PDD and perhaps the cause of it. The testing is reasonably priced; info can be found here: Note that this testing is not perfect nor perfected, but it is perhaps the best test at the time.

Understand that I am not a vet, but having lost a bird to this disease I've followed it for several years. (I probably have more avian vet books than your avian vet does.) There is no way to be sure your next bird will not be infected by anything lingering from your previous bird; but most researchers and people involved with PDD cases would agree that such reinfection after a period of time is highly unlikely.

Tony Brusate
Lexington Ky

Jun 11, 2008
Lost Macaw to PDD
by: The Vet

I am so sorry to hear that you have lost your Green-winged macaw. I know the devastation you are experiencing. I too lost a beloved pet to PDD. This is a complicated disease that we do not know everything about. But what we do know is that it survives in the environment for a very long time.

Your risk of re-exposure is not reduced by waiting two weeks. There is no magic in that time frame. In fact you can wait two years and still have the same chance of re-exposure as you did at two days, or even two hours. I have seen cases in the same aviary 10+ years after their last death due to PDD.

By complicated I mean you can have two birds living in the same cage, one dies from PDD, the other lives a full life with no illness; across the room in the same aviary, another dies. Even worse, incubation time for clinical disease to appear is up to 4 years after exposure.

So to answer your question directly, other precautions include whole-house disinfecting, carpet shampooing, and throw out everything that your other bird used. Even with this level of precaution, there are no guarantees of preventing another outbreak.

My purpose is not to frighten you, but to make you aware of the seriousness of this virus. It is not to say that you should not bring another bird into your home. I did after mine passed. I knew the risk, but I could not live without a companion parrot.

Dr. B

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