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New Screening Test Can Reduce Disease Threats to Parrots - PDD testing now available

By News from the University of Guelph


An insidious disease that attacks parrots around the world is now one step closer to easy detection, thanks to researchers at the Ontario Veterinary College and the Animal Health Laboratory at the University of Guelph. A new screening test for Avian Bornavirus is now available in Canada only through the Animal Health Laboratory. Research to create the test was funded by Pet Trust Fund and a number of pet bird clubs.

“This screening test is a significant step forward to help identify and control this world-wide disease,” said Prof Dale Smith of OVC.

Proventricular dilation disease, or PDD, causes weight loss, digestive problems and neurological signs in affected parrots. Until now, there has been no easy way to test living birds for the disease — often the diagnosis could only be confirmed at post-mortem.

The new screening test was developed in conjunction with researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, who identified the virus that causes the disease. Dr Smith and Dr Michael Taylor, of the Ontario Veterinary College, have been studying this disease for a number of years and are delighted to be able to apply this new information in a practical manner.

It appears that some parrots are ‘carriers’ of the disease and do not show clinical signs, but can ’shed’ the virus to other birds, which may become seriously ill. The new screening test will be of benefit to aviaries, breeders and hobbyists.

Avian veterinarians can request the test through the Animal Health Laboratory.

For more information please contact:

Dr Michael Taylor
Ontario Veterinary College
519.824.4120 ext. 54082
Dr Marina Brash
Animal Health Laboratory
519.824.4120 ext. 54550

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