|Home > Health and diseases > Plumage defects > Viral plumage disease (PBFD)|
A large-area loss of plumage is quite unusual for budgies and other parakeets during a
normal molt. If a bird has bigger
gaps or even skinny parts on its body and if these are not recovered with feathers after
a few days or weeks, besides feather
picking a virus infection called PBFD could be a possible reason.
This plumage defect called "Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease" (Psittacine Circovirus Disease or PCD) hides behind the abbreviation PBFD; you also could call it "Parrots' Feather and Beak disease". Usually bigger parrots, cockatoos and lovebirds are seized by this infection caused by the so-called avian circovirus. But also budgies and other parakeets can be infected. Cases of infection are known from all over the world. The infection appears quite often.
Symptoms and course of disease
Avian vets distinguish between an acute and chronic course of disease. Older birds usually show chronic courses which means a creeping aggravation of their constitution. Hereby the plumage constitution of infected animals gets worse every molt until these animals show a plumage that might make you guess the bird was a feather picker. Furthermore the beak is growing faster than usual and often even askew or deformed. This are hints for a layman that the bird might be infected with PBFD.
If the chronic disease is quite advanced, most of the birds are completely naked. They also lose the head plumage which is a secure sign they did not pick their unreachable feathers themselves.
After a little time the skin gets white and scabbed facings. These are centres of inflammation as the naked skin is very sensible and even smallest injuries can make bacteria as staphylococcus infect the bird as shown on the picture on the right. You can see blebs filled with sanies.
Exceeding claws are quite common in this stadium of PBFD. When elder birds are affected, after an outbreak the disease usually leads to death after one or two years.
The acute course looks different. Mainly young birds (chicks, fledglings) suffer from this and die quite fast. This results from the common appearance of the plumage dysfunction, low immunity, diarrhoea, vomitus, and great lassitude.
Ways of infection
Evidence of the disease
Treatment and inoculate prophylaxis
Infected birds have to be kept solely or together with infected fellows. Beaks and claws have to be cut their life-long if necessary, and you have to prevent secondary infections. A well-balanced nutrition for improving the immune system is strongly required. PBFD can not be healed, and unfortunately today it is not possible to get a commercial inoculate prophylaxis.
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