Too dust and Macaws

Posted By: Alison

Too dust and Macaws - 01/26/04 07:59 AM

I used the search engine and read the past posts on this subject and I have asked in live chat, but the one thing I can't seem to find is the studies that showed the dangers of Too dust on a Macaws respiratory system. There are a lot of posts that say 'I heard...' 'I've always been told...' 'I read that...' and other such opinions, but there are no referrences, that I could find, as to where that info is coming from. confused If this is a big problem, there should have been some studies on it right? Can anyone please direct me to those studies? Thank you.
Posted By: Mona

Re: Too dust and Macaws - 01/26/04 08:35 AM

Alison, I had this article saved, from a previous discussion about this subject. It's called Pulmonary Hypersensitivity Syndrome. I can't remember where I found it. Am researching, if I find anymore definitive articles will post them.

Pulmonary Hypersensitivity Syndrome
by Linda Pesek DVM, Diplomate ABVP (Avian)

Although good ventilation is necessary for any type of bird, it is especially critical for macaws. Blue and Gold macaws, as well as several other species of macaws, seem especially sensitive to airborne irritants. They may develop a progressive respiratory disease known as "pulmonary hypersensitivity syndrome" if housed in a poorly ventilated room, especially if kept with birds that produce a great deal of powder - cockatoos, cockatiels and African grey parrots.

This powder is produced by specialized "powder down feathers" and is a white waxy substance composed of keratin. Powder down forms a water proof barrier for contour feathers. It is spread through the feathers when the bird grooms. The down is composed of very fine particulate matter which becomes airborne very easily and spreads via air currents and air ducts throughout the area.

The powder down can also cause irritation to people with respiratory problems and allergies. (People with allergies may be able to tolerate these birds, but they should be aware of this before acquiring one of them).

In the early stages of pulmonary hypersensitivity syndrome, the macaw may appear normal, but wheeze with excitement. As the condition progresses, dyspnea (difficulty in breathing), a cough and a bluish tinge to the facial skin (cyanosis) develop. Hypoxia or under oxygenation of tissues occurs, which often leads to an increase in the number of circulating red blodd cells (rbc). Polycythemia (increased rbc numbers) will increase the viscosity of the blood so that it does not flow normally. Clinical symptoms and xrays may support the diagnosis, but a lung biopsy is necessary for confirmation.

In order to prevent this, macaws should be housed in well ventilated rooms - without cockatoos, cockatiels or African greys. An air cleaner with a hepa filter is recommended.

Unfortunately, this pulmonary disease is often advanced when owners first notice a problem.

Affected birds should be moved to an environment with adequate ventilation. Certain drugs may provide temporary relief, but there is no cure for "pulmonary hypersensitiviy syndrome".
Posted By: Alison

Re: Too dust and Macaws - 01/30/04 08:22 AM

Thanks Mona, although I have placed the U2 in a home, I still wanted to know in case another one comes in. I guess the best thing I can do is hurry up and finish the addition to the aviary, which will be seperated from the original aviary by glass and a half wall. I'll just keep the Toos and Macaws away from each other and avoid any risk. Thanks again.
Posted By: ZazuSally

Re: Too dust and Macaws - 01/30/04 03:07 PM

You might want to talk to Alex Z about this. She lost a blue and gold macaw, Billie, from Too dust. Billie died in her arms.

Bev, Zazu and Sally Ann
Posted By: Ladyhawk

Re: Too dust and Macaws - 01/30/04 11:52 PM

I wonder if 'toos also have problems with their own "dust." In the wild, it wouldn't accumulate in their breathing space. In cages, especially covered at night, it does. My squawkatoo has a hepa filter air cleaner in her sleeping room (as well as a white noise maker to filter out late night and early morning noise).
Posted By: happybirds

Re: Too dust and Macaws - 01/31/04 02:41 AM

Ladyhawk - my White Noise Maker is the 24 hour a day running of the floor model air cleaner, and the overhead fan!
Posted By: Ladyhawk

Re: Too dust and Macaws - 01/31/04 03:44 AM

Happybirds - My White Noise Maker has peach and yellow overtones and a large grey beak. Sorry...I just couldn't resist. You're right, the floor model also adds plenty of noise. It probably won't be long until she starts imitating it. She already does "espresso maker" and "toothbrush."

Anyway, I took the overhead fan out of her room to avoid accidents (being a night person, I'm not too bright in the morning). All the controls for the OH fans in the rest of the house have a cluster of her feathers on them to remind us to turn off the fans before letting out the bird.
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