Psittacine circoviral disease (PCD) affects parrots and related species and is often fatal to birds that contact it. They can become infected through the oral cavity, nasal passages, and through the cloaca. High concentration of the virus are shed in feather dust from infected birds.
Bobita, was one of those unfortunate birds. He is a juvenile male cockatiel, bought from a pet-shop about 3 months ago, when he was 4 months.
The owner noticed that the bird is singing more and more rarely, and when he does, the voice is hoarse. Beside this, he also noticed that the animal is losing his feathers. The owner thought it might be a hypovitaminosis, so he started to give him vitamins. When he noticed bleeding on the base of the feathers he scared and made the decision to bring him to the vet.
During the consultation we noticed that the bird easily loses his plumage, he does not have any destructive feather behaviors or feather picking. He had a poor feather quality, they were more discolored than normal and the shape was abnormally (curved and stunting of the feathers). A part of the feathers on the head was lost. Feather dystrophy, hemorrhage within the pulp and circumferential constrictions of the feather shaft were observed. The beak started to pigment and there was a slight exfoliation, claws were longer than normal.
Ectoparasites, viruses (circovirus [PBFD], polyomavirus), genetic conditions. Other factors that may negatively affect feather condition are low humidity, exposure to aerosols, cigarette smoke or other toxins, malnutrition and chronic systemic illnesses (hepatopathy, nephropathy).
Microscopic examination of the pulp and feather were performed. In the examined samples there were no evidence of fungal, bacterial or parasitic infections. A PCR exam was performed from growing feathers pulp to detect PBFD virus DNA.
Treatment and prognosis
Because the disease is not in a very advanced stage supportive treatment focused on the stabilization of the immune system, a balanced diet and a stress free environment was recommended. The most important prevention is the hygiene of the cage and educating the owner how to disinfect, because they represent a risk of spreading the disease.
Feather loss might be acceptable, but beak and claws changes are painful and usually a reason for euthanasia