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Borna Virus And Feather Pulling

Discussion in 'Health' started by tina konstant, Jul 28, 2017.

  1. tina konstant

    tina konstant Registered

    Our African Grey was diagnosed with Borna Virus two and a half years ago. Up until now, the only sign she had it was the seeds and undigested food she passes (it's a lot and all the time). To make sure she gets as much nutrition as possible, all her food is dosed with vitamins and her primary food is Harrison's. 2 weeks ago, with no apparent trigger, she suddenly started pulling feathers. She doesn't seem at all distressed. She's eating, playing, flying... and pulling feathers until she bleeds! She's 7 years old. Has anyone else experienced this? Or borna virus? The vet says there's nothing more we can do except feed her well. We've put pet calm in the room in case she's experiencing stress. But that hasn't made any difference. Any input will help.
    Tina (and Yaya)
  2. DizzyBlue

    DizzyBlue Administrator Staff Member Admin

    Hi and welcome to the forum from me and my gang :)
    May I ask why you had your bird tested for Bono Virus? Strange question I know but was your feathered friend showing signs of illness or was it just routine bloods please?
    ABV causes nerve damage by turning the bodies own immune system in on itself and damages it's own nerves. When did you last have your beauty to the vets for a status check?
  3. dianaT

    dianaT Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    :welcome: sorry to hear this. Isn't it unusual for a parrot to get this?
    May I ask whether it is an avian vet you go to.
  4. TomsMum

    TomsMum Administrator Staff Member Admin

    Hi Tina and :welcome: to the forum.

    As DIzzyBlue has said there are scientific references to feather destructive behaviour in birds with ABV infection.

    The symptoms of undigested food are usually associated with Proventricular Dilation Disease, which has a causal relationship to ABV. I was wondering if your vet's had confirmed a diagnosis of PDD along with ABV? As regards to the nothing can be done statement...research into ABV is on-going and there are scientific references to experimental treatments combining specific anti-viral drugs.

    You could ask your vet to refer you to an Avian specialist team such as Great Western Exotics in Swindon.
  5. sunnyring

    sunnyring Regular Member

  6. tina konstant

    tina konstant Registered

    Hey DizzyBlue
    Thanks for the welcome and the quick response! I took Yaya to the vet for a general check (her mate had just died and although she seemed ok to us, we wanted her looked over - her mates issue was unrelated). The vet noticed seed in her poo so did a test specifically for BV and she came back positive. At the time she wasn't shedding. We haven't retested her since. She had boarded at a place where, they admitted some time after, they'd lost 2 birds that year to Borna Virus so that's where she caught it. We haven't had a blood test since. What is consistent is the bottom of her cage. Always piles of undigested seed in some kind of brown or green or white or clear sludge. Like I said, other than that, she shows no other signs of being ill. So the feather pulling stopped us in our tracks a little.
    DizzyBlue likes this.
  7. tina konstant

    tina konstant Registered

    Hey DianaT. Yes, it was an avian vet who did this initial test and diagnosis. Sam Kerr at the Lawrie Veterinary Group in Falkirk, Scotland. We're pretty certain she got it at a place she stayed while we went on holiday. The folk who run it admitted they lost 2 birds to BV that year.
    DizzyBlue likes this.
  8. tina konstant

    tina konstant Registered

    Morning TomsMum. She has ABV but as yet, not the clinical signs of PDD - although she hasn't been tested recently because her symptoms/behaviours haven't changed until now. I'll talk to the vet about any new research. I wasn't happy with the bedside manner of the avian vet so we haven't been back to him in particular. Our new guy (who has an interest rather than specialty in birds) is talking to his colleagues at Edinburgh University. I'll ask about the new research. Thanks. I'd accepted that there was no treatment. I'll review that now.
    TomsMum and DizzyBlue like this.
  9. tina konstant

    tina konstant Registered

    This is an excellent article. Thanks. We weren't happy about the toxicity of bleach so we clean her space out with a steam cleaner filled 50/50 water and vinegar. Vet says it will have the same effect as bleach. And as to being happy... that's what's confused us. She'll sit on my shoulder, chatting away, messing with my ears and pulling feathers like they're toys to be played with. The vet has said that she could live a full and natural life with the condition - we just got alarmed when the feather pulling started in case it was the disease progressing.
    jaspers mum, sunnyring and DizzyBlue like this.