Story Bird:


We have four birds presently living in our house.  Two are parrots, and two are finches.  When asked if we would take in two lovebirds because of their screaming, I reluctantly agreed, planning to give them to a bird rescue sanctuary, in the few weeks ahead, when I would be seeing the girl who ran it.  I really had enough birds.  I decided, though, for the time being, to quarantine them, in our large bed room.  They were in a dirty cage, which I immediately cleaned and sanitized, had no toys, and had bright green feces.  I figured it was because of the sun flower seed diet that they were given. After a few days, my husband and I decided that we would keep these little guys.  I had them eating sprouted seed, and various fresh items, and Noah's Kingdom seed mix, at night.

I spent a great deal of time in the evening on my bed reading a book, or the news paper.  When I handled lovebird items, I washed my hands.  They were never people friendly, being bonded to one another.  I also slept with my spouse in this room. I was the one that started with a mild lingering cough and a  terrible, light sensitive, nauseating  headache.  At about that time  the lovebirds, still with green feces, also started producing a foul, musty odor. 
I brought them to the vet, and she suspected it was psittacosis.  I left them with her, not knowing what else to do.  She agreed to find them a home, and inform the new owner.  The person who adopted, did not have test done, gave them away, too, and brought them  to a house full of birds, even after being told what they might be carrying. I found this out through my next door neighbor. This made me angry, but more angry with the vet, for not keeping them there, and seeing that they were treated.  I figured it would have been a vet's responsibility.

Over the next few days, I went to the doctors and was tested for psittacosis, my self, and put on doxycycline for 14 days.  My spouse, and my children, also.  I was the only one to turn up positive, fortunately. Because of the health department/ CDC laws, ALL my birds also had to be treated.  The parrots, given drops, and the finches given medicated pellets.  I hate pellets, but did not have a choice. Catching them, and giving them drops would cause stress.  They accepted the pellets, though, fortunately.

The moral of my story is that if you take in rescues, you should not quarantine in your own home.  There is not enough air circulation/exchange.  Even though a bird seems ok, it can carry psittacosis without even showing signs, and can carry it for  up to a year and a half, without signs.

Kelly Raver

Thank you, Kelly, for sending us your story.  We must all remember the importance of proper quarantine and testing procedures when bringing in any new bird into our home.