Saturday, October 2, 2010

PDD & Parrotlets


I was reading your article on dilatation disease and was wondering how common this was. I have a parrotlet that is 5 yrs old now and has been sick for a month now and the vet is not sure what is wrong. He does not act sick but has a hard time balancing himself. He also sometimes shakes or has like tremors. He seems to be weak in the legs. Can you what to look for or who to ask??

Thank you, Brenda

Dear Brenda:

Thank you for your email. I’m very sorry to hear about the problems with your bird. PDD is a gastrointestinal disease that causes wasting syndrome and death from starvation. It involves the inability for birds to process food and is characterized by severe weight loss, vomiting and the passing of whole seeds in the stool. While parrotlets are not immune to this disease, it is very rare for them to be diagnosed with it. Especially in a parrotlet that is not around other birds.

What you describe sounds like some kind of neurological problem. While PDD can have neurological impact it is usually in very advanced case and most parrotlets would have died from starvation before the disease would impact the brain. However, you need to discuss this with a vet competent in avian medicine. Neurological problems can have a variety of causes – injuries, viruses, bacterial infections, prions, fungal infections, genetic abnormalities, tumors, congenital defects, cancer – only a veterinarian trained in avian medicine can diagnose the problem. If your vet is not avian certified, I recommend you contact the Association of Avian Veterinarians at and see if you can find one that may be able to help you.

Best of luck to you and your bird.

Sincerely yours,

Sandee L. Molenda, C.A.S.

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