On 2/24/06, Fran wrote:
> Michael, what is your opinion on vaccinating pet birds? My
previous avian vet and
> current one differ 180 degrees on this issue. Previous vet said
vaccine was not necessary
> for pet birds in a non-breeding home. Said the vaccine could pose
more risk than
> necessary, mainly by adverse reaction at injection site.
> On the opposite side, my current avian vet (both of these are
Avian certified and tops in
> their field) feels EVERY bird should be vaccinated. He feels that
an owner could bring the
> virus in on their clothes or shoes after visiting babies in a pet
store, etc. He even goes
> so far as to not board birds if not vaccinated. I am on the
fence. I have thought I may
> need to go ahead and get my birds vaccinated in case I need to
board them. What are
> your general thoughts on this issue?
I can understand your dilemma concerning vaccinating, but maybe
this will lend more clarity on the issue.
I don't know if you're aware or not, but Polyoma is usually a
disease that primarily affects newly weaned birds or very young
birds. It is not a virus that attacks healthy, adult birds as a
rule as their immune systems are more resistant. Certainly there
can be exceptions, let's say, for immunocompromised, or very old
birds, but this is a rarity.
My avian vet was not recommending, nor in favor of doing it. He
felt that preventative measures were sufficient rather than
vaccinating chicks. The jury is still out on whether or not this
vaccine is 100 percent effective, although the manufacturer will
tell you that it is.
While he wasn't encouraging it, he did order in for me the vaccine
so that I could vaccinate my baby birds.
I did investigate what side effects there might be when doing this
and basically came up with little that I would consider major
concerns. At the injection site, the serum gathers and forms a
small "bubble or ball" under the skin. This dissipates within
minutes of giving the vaccine. Possible there is a chance that it
wouldn't, but I've not encountered that. Also, the vaccine is
a "killed" or inactive vaccine so it doesn't contain live Polyoma
virus so that risk is eliminated.
The reason I decided to do it was that I do have exposure to other
people's birds when I go to a pet store, bird fair or some other
place that birds may be present.
I do practice sensible hygiene when I come home and will remove my
clothing in the basement and take a quick shower to lessen the
chances of me bringing anything home to my flock, not just Polyoma.
Also, when my baby birds go to new homes, they do so at a young age
and I want them to be as "protected" as they can be when they leave
me. I know how I operate in my own home, but can't attest to
someone else's situation.
My adult birds are not vaccinated, but all have been tested. And
this doesn't guarantee anything, as some birds will not test
positive if they are not actively shedding a virus even though they
I don't know if this helps or not, but it's all I know on the