Pediatric Avian Medicine: Infectious Diseases of the Psittacine Chick

Key Points

  • Gram-negative bacteria and non-budding yeast can be normal findings in the gastrointestinal tract, but these organisms can quickly overgrow and cause disease in the stressed juvenile bird.
  • Avian polyomavirus is the most devastating disease that can affect the psittacine nursery. Depending on age and species, the clinical picture can include peracute death, coelomic distention, subcutaneous hemorrhage, abnormal feather formation, non-specific signs of illness, delayed crop emptying, regurgitation, diarrhea, dyspnea, posterior paresis or paralysis, and polyuria.
  • Psittacine beak and feather disease may also affect a variety of species. Clinical signs may include non-specific signs of illness and dystrophic feather formation. Immunosuppression can lead to septicemia and secondary pneumonia, enteritis, and death.
  • Two important infectious causes of regurgitation and crop stasis in the chick are candidiasis, and avian polyoma virus. Candida spp. is an important cause of disease that is easily managed if recognized early, while there is no real specific treatment for polyoma virus, which is often fatal.

Although Gram-negative bacteria and non-budding yeast can be normal gastrointestinal flora in the psittacine bird, these organisms can quickly overgrow in the debilitated chick. Signs of clinical disease can first manifest as crop stasis or stunting. A wide range of agents can cause problems, however important infectious diseases in the juvenile psittacine bird include avian polyomavirus, psittacine beak and feather disease, and candidiasis . . .

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To cite this page:

Rivera S. Pediatric avian medicine: Infectious diseases of the psittacine chick. May 6, 2008. LafeberVet Web site. Available at