Your E-mail:
What's your bird's bathing style?


Printer Friendly

Birds Need Clean Air, Too

Some birds are sensitive to dust and dander from other birds

By Rebecca Sweat

bird health, bird dust, bird dander
Some bird species are more sensitive to the dust and danger from other birds. Courtesy Michelle Testa, Georgia

Not only can bird dust cause respiratory problems in people, it can also have a similar effect on other birds in the household. Birds with the avian version of allergic alveolitis are not having a reaction to their own powder, but to the proteins in the feather dust from another bird in the house. Any bird can develop this disease, but New World species, particularly macaws, seem to be the most sensitive, especially if they are sharing airspace with cockatiels, cockatoos or African greys.

No one knows for certain why New World species are more susceptible to this condition, but Larry Nemetz, DVM, a birds-only veterinarian in Southern California, theorizes that the Old World species like cockatiels, cockatoos and African greys have proteins that New World species are not used to. Furthermore, macaws in particular may be more sensitive due to their large nostrils. “Being that they have big nostrils, they inhale more powder and get more allergen exposure,” he asserted.

Just as with people, birds with allergic alveolitis may start out wheezing and coughing. If the condition is diagnosed and addressed early on, the bird’s breathing will probably return to normal, but even then, it may very well need to be moved to a new home — free of other birds,  said Washington state avian veterinarian Cathy Johnson-Delaney, DVM.

If the problem is allowed to go on, the bird’s entire respiratory tract can shut down, and the bird can die. There are also cardiac problems associated with this in some cases. “As the bird loses his ability to exchange air, his blood pressure goes up and he goes into secondary heart failure because of the increased pressure he’s experiencing from trying to breathe,” Johnson-Delaney explained. The condition is so serious that she advises against macaws living in the same airspace with cockatoos, cockatiels and African greys.


 Give us your opinion on
Birds Need Clean Air, Too

Submit a Comment or
Join Club
Earn 1,000 points! What's this?
Reader Comments
Never knew that. Thanks
Dan, Sandy Valley, NV
Posted: 6/29/2010 7:31:08 PM
Thanks!
Shandi, Kitchener, ON
Posted: 1/26/2009 11:40:20 AM
good article.
mary, ptld, ME
Posted: 8/4/2008 2:39:50 AM
I never knew this!! Thanks for the article!
joan, franklin square, NY
Posted: 4/14/2008 6:34:14 AM
View Current Comments
Top Products
d
BirdChannel Home | Bird Breeders | Bird Species | Related Links | BirdChannel Editors and Contributors
DOGS | CATS | FISH | HORSE | REPTILE | SMALL ANIMALS | HOBBY FARMS
                       | Birds USA |  
Disclaimer: The posts and threads recorded in our message boards do not reflect the opinions of nor are endorsed by I-5 Publishing, LLC nor any of its employees. We are not responsible for the content of these posts and threads.
Copyright ©  I-5 Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved.
Our Privacy Policy has changed. Your California Privacy Right/Privacy Policy
Advertise With Us  |  SiteMap  |  Contact Us  |  Terms of Use  |  Community Guidelines | Bird eClub Terms
BirdChannel Newsletter Signup | Link to Us | About Us | More Great I-5 Sites
Gold Standard

*Content generated by our loyal visitors, which includes comments and club postings, is free of constraints from our editors’ red pens, and therefore not governed by I-5 Publishing, LLC’s Gold Standard Quality Content, but instead allowed to follow the free form expression necessary for quick, inspired and spontaneous communication.

Become a fan of BirdChannel on Facebook Follow BirdChannel on Twitter
Get social and connect with BirdChannel.



Hi my name's RaneBeau ('>

Visit the Photo Gallery to
cast your vote!
Information on over 200 critter species