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Pacheco’s Disease Virus

Pacheco’s disease virus (PDV) is caused by a herpes virus that affects the liver, spleen and kidneys of pet birds.

Margaret A. Wissman, DVM
Posted: July 24, 2013, 10:30 a.m. PDT


Pacheco’s disease virus (PDV) affects the liver, spleen and kidneys of pet birds. Susceptible hosts include macaws, Amazon parrots, conures, African greys, lovebirds, Poichephalus, some lories, Psittacula, cockatoos, budgiesKing parrots and cockatiels.


Symptoms of PDV may include lethargy, anorexia, ruffled plumage and periodic diarrhea, polyuria, and polydipsia. Less common symptoms include hemorrhagic diarrhea, conjunctivitis and convulsions in the neck, wings and legs.

An outbreak of PDV may be caused by stress, such as an extreme change in environment.


If any of the clinical symptoms listed above are noticed in your pet bird, immediately see your avian veterinarian. Treatment for PDV depends on the strain as well as the host bird. It is most effective if the clinical signs of the disease are not yet showing.

Paramunity inducers can be used for natural immunity, but this treatment also depends on the strain.


A vaccine is available, but cockatoos, African grey parrots and blue and gold macaws have shown to have difficulties, such as granulomas and paralysis, after receiving the vaccination. The vaccine is to use only on high risk birds (those that are at import stations or housed in pet stores with imported birds).

Disclaimer:’s Bird Health section is intended for educational purposes only. It is not meant to replace the expertise and experience of a professional veterinarian. Do not use the information presented here to make decisions about your bird’s health if you suspect your pet is sick. If your pet is showing signs of illness or you notice changes in your bird’s behavior, take your pet to the nearest veterinarian or an emergency pet clinic as soon as possible.

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