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Re: macaw with runny nose

Posted by GreyLady on 8/27/08
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    Macaws are more sensitive in their respiratory system than a
    lot of the other types. They are at risk of Pulmonary
    Hypersensitivity Syndrome. Especially if they share space with
    some other types of parrots and if you do not use a very good,
    HEPA filtered air cleaner in their area. Below is some more
    info on this I've pasted for you, but bottom line, the "get to
    a vet" advice is correct. Don't put it off. It is likely to
    only get worse.

    Providing a good environment as well as a good diet is
    essential in keeping your bird healthy. In addition to proper
    temperature, good ventilation is essential.
    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".