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Your handy Reference to New - purchase Exams

by Jeffrey Krasnoff, DVM, MS, Brookville Animal Hosp.,
691 Glen Cove Rd. Glen Head, N. Y. 11545*

The bird seller's vet check policy should allow the practitioner adequate time to get all tests back. When a sale is conditional on vet check results, 24 hours is inadequate since some tests take longer for results to be returned [from labs]. New purchase exams should include the following tests, with the most necessary tests being listed first:
Culture & Sensitivity tests when oral, give a picture of the bird's overall respiratory condition, and when cloacal, give a picture of many of the bird's major anatomical systems. The tests help diagnose such bacterial infections as E. coli and Pseudomonas, yeast infections such as Candida and fungal problems like Aspergillosis.
Psittacosis tests are used to diagnose Chlamydiosis, which is also known as Psittacosis, parrot fever and Omithosis (when the disease is exhibited in non-psittacine species.) This is a zoonotic disease which means that birds can transmit it to people & vice versa (although people-to-bird route is unlikely). Two kinds of psittacosis tests:

Psittacine Beak & Feather Syndrome (PBFD) tests are interpreted by the avian practitioner in relationship to the bird's physical condition. Birds which are positive for PBFD should be kept isoated from all other birds. Their owners should refrain from contact with other birds. With good supportive care, Krasnoff feels, the birds can often live for a long while with good quality of life, and feels that echinacea (a herbal remedy) is helpful in extending the quality of life.
Polyomavirus test is done with a cloacal swab of feces. All multiple bird owners should have new birds tested. Birds most at risk are young birds from 2 to 6 months old. Most birds showing signs will die within 24 to 48 hours. A symptom of this disease is subcutaneous hemorrhages.
Avian Screen/Complete Blood Count give a picture of the general health of the bird. It is important to establish base line values for future use in diagnosis of any problems. Blood samples may be drawn from the jugular vein, wing vein, medial metatarsal vein, heart or toenail.
Xrays can be used io locate any granulomas (walled off abscesses) and to check the condition of the bone structure, which might determine if the bird has been on an adequate diet or not.
Various specific tests:Mycoplasma, Aspergillosis, Pacheco's, Pox virus, Newcastle's virus
Gram stain (oral/cloacal) is done on oral or cloacal smears. A dye is used to determine if gram negative bacteria are present in significant quantities. The overall condition of the bird determines if medication is required for any gram nega- tive bacteria discovered.
Fecal exam There are two separate parts to a fecal exam:
The avian Screen

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