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Re: Polyoma question/ to Fran

Posted by Michael L on 2/24/06
(14) Comments

    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
    carry it.
    I don't know if this helps or not, but it's all I know on the

    Michael L