Cockatiel Diseases – A Description of 3 Pet Cockatiel Illnesses

Cockatiels are generally hardy birds which helps make them one of the most popular pet birds. However, there are illnesses that are specific to the species. Getting to know what is normal for your bird (and normal is different for birds even of the same species) will help you to know when there is a problem and allow you to get help quickly. Here are 3 descriptions of diseases and their symptoms.

Pacheco’s Virus has proven to be nearly 100% fatal because of its hard to detect symptoms and aggressive attack on the bird’s system. Caused by the herpes virus, it is generally spread from one bird to another through spoiled food, water, and droppings; and birds that are stressed seem more susceptible. There has been some success in treatment with the use of a vaccine, but it causes side effects that are almost as problematic as the disease itself, mainly tumors at the injection site, paralysis, and death. It is the larger parrots that seem to have most of the negative reactions to the vaccine. The best defense seems to be a powerful offense on the owner’s part by staying alert for any changes in your bird’s eating patterns, elimination, energy level, or onset of discharge of any kind and then getting your bird professional help immediately.

Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease often abbreviated as PBFD is cause by a virus–psittacine circovirus 1 (PsCV-1), that attacks the immune system that presents with loss of feathers, deformed development of beaks, nails, and claws. Birds showing any of these symptoms should be immediately tested for the disease as early detection increases the chance of survival exponentially. This disease spreads through airborne dander, feather, dried fecal matter and secretions from the infected bird, easily infects other birds, but cannot be passed to humans. The good news is that often young birds survive and form a natural immunity to the disease.

Psittacosis sometimes referred to as Parrot Fever or Bird Fancier’s Lung (BFL), is a disease that all species of birds are susceptible to, and one that can be passed to humans as well. Pet birds are the most frequent transmitters of the disease especially many types of Parrots. Because it is caused by virus-like bacteria, it can be effectively treated with antibiotics when detected early. There is a good recovery rate for birds and humans. Spread from minute particle of infected fecal matter that dries and becomes airborne, it is a menace to other birds as well.

Lyme Disease in Dogs and Humans

It is summer time and that means walks in the woods, camping and all those glorious trips on nature trails enjoying the sights and sounds of nature. However, lurking in some areas there lies a nasty tick that can cause both humans and animals an opportunity to become very ill.

It is an illness that is caused by a bite from an infected tick and it does not care who you are human or dog. This problem surfaced around 1975 when a group of children in a Lyme, Conn., suffered a severe outbreak of rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. This unusual grouping eventually lead researchers to identify the bacterial cause in 1982 and thus led to the name “Lyme disease.” In 1984 it found its way into the canine population and since has skyrocketed. It is a serious and deadly disease if left untreated.

According to statistics released by a pet insurance provider (Veterinary Pet Insurance) in 2008, Lyme disease is the most common canine infectious disease for the third year in a row. Forty-sever percent of all the claims Veterinary Pet Insurance received were for tick born infectious diseases. Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis (caused by the Brown Dog tick and the lone star tick, infection enters the white blood cells and causes anemia and other complications) and anaplasmosis (caused by deer ticks, the disease is similar to Lyme disease) are among the three leading infectious tick diseases.

What is the cause? Warmer climates, urbanization and an increase in the rodent and deer populations are the primary causes. A female tick can lay approximately 3,000 eggs per season and once the tick population gets established there is a big problem in removing them. Once a disease that was established in a few areas has now managed to move through the entire Northeast, the Midwest and in areas of California and Oregon.

What is Lyme disease? It is a disease caused by a bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi which is transmitted into the bloodstream by the saliva of the infected tick by means of a prolonged bite. It cannot be transmitted from dog to dog or to humans from dogs. It comes from the tick bite itself and reacts differently in humans than it does in dogs.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only two ticks are known to carry this bacterium, the blacklegged deer tick, found throughout most of the United States and the Western blacklegged tick found only in the Western states. Granted that there are other ticks that carry

different types of bacteria, but only these two ticks carry Lyme disease.

What are the symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs? It is difficult to diagnose. Common symptoms are fever, limb discomfort, lameness, swelling in the joints, lack of energy and loss of appetite. Since these symptoms are common to many other canine diseases it may take a while to determine the actual cause of the problems. Lyme disease can take up to 5 months after exposure to surface.

A simple blood test can detect if a dog has been exposed to the bacteria and treatment can begin. Dogs are usually treated with an antibiotic (usually doxycycline) and will begin to show improvement within a few days after receiving treatment.

The interesting thing is some dogs can test positive for the disease and never appear sick, as their bodies are capable of fighting off the bacteria. It is recommended however, that if your dog tests positive and several other tests show the same result it is best to have your dog treated, but that is a matter of personal judgment.

What are the complications of Lyme disease in dogs? Lyme disease does not cause permanent arthritis in dogs. The type of arthritis or lameness caused by this disease is non-erosive arthritis; it does not cause damage the bone. The swelling and lameness will go away with treatment.

The potential problem related to Lyme disease is kidney complications if left untreated. These problems can be fatal to your dog. It is necessary to have your vet do a routine urinalysis if your dog has contacted Lyme disease.

Lyme disease is a dangerous disease, but when caught early and treated most dogs achieve full recovery.

What are the symptoms of Lyme disease in humans? Lyme disease in humans affects different areas in the body as it progresses. The place where the tick has bit the human usually causes a reddish rash and “flu-like” symptoms.

Medically it is described in three phases as: (a) an early localized disease with a skin inflammation; (b) early problems of the heart and nervous system, which could include palsies and meningitis and (c) later a disease that causes motor and sensory nerve damage and brain inflammation as well as arthritis.

Many people do not even recall a tick bite, as some ticks can be as small as the period at the end of this sentence. Some people do not develop a reddish rash, but even the rash will disappear by itself with no treatment at all. Some people suffer from flu like symptoms and possible swollen glands plus a headache. If you are like most people you “get over” these things without the aid of your doctor and this is where the seriousness of this disease begins.

As the bacteria spreads through your body it begins to affect your heart muscle causing and inflammation, which can cause abnormal heartbeats and heart failure. The nervous system can develop facial paralysis, abnormal sensations due to the disease of peripheral nerves, meningitis and confusion. If this is not enough, you can also develop chronic arthritis and suffer from anxiety and depression.

How is Lyme disease diagnosed in humans? If you live in an area where Lyme disease if known and show up at the doctor’s office with the usual red rash the diagnosis is simple. If you have been bitten by a tick be certain to tell your doctor. In most cases without your doctor knowing if you have been bitten or if you have been in an area where Lyme disease is known, they will review your history and try the process of elimination to exclude certain diseases. Blood tests are not significant in the early stages of the disease, though can be helpful in the later stages. Currently the best test is what is called the Western Blot assay antibody test.

How is Lyme disease treated in humans? In most cases Lyme disease is treated with antibiotics that work really well in the early stages of the disease. If the disease has progressed undetected for awhile, it maybe necessary to take some intravenous drugs and pain-relieving medicines can also be given.

How do you protect your dog and yourself? Since dogs carry ticks into the home, it is wise to check your dog every time it comes in. A tick check is simply done by going through your dog’s fur and parting it with your fingers. Begin at the ears and head while working your way down, on black dog’s use a flashlight to help you see the ticks. If you find one do not stop as you may find more, ticks love company. Use some sticky tape to help remove the tick or use tweezers making certain you remove the whole tick, legs and all. Do not try burning them off with a match or cigarette.

Keep your grass cut; trim bushes around your house so that they get a chance to get some sun. Ticks love damp dark places. If you live near a wooded area keep the area around your home free from the growing brush; a stone or mulch path surrounding the area is a good idea.

Use year round flea and tick preventatives. If you live in an area where Lyme disease ticks are prevalent there are vaccines available to help prevent the disease. A vaccine along with the flea and tick preventative will go a long way in protecting your dog. Though it is known that the vaccines do not always work, they are worth a try. The vaccines are usually given twice, a few weeks apart and then once a year and are recommended if you live in areas known for the disease.

Regarding us humans wear protective long pants, long sleeves and boots if you are venturing into the woods and if you pick up a tick be certain to remove it at once. Spraying an insect repellent that contains DEET will help too. If you get a tick and remove it, save the culprit in a jar so that is can be identified as not all ticks carry Lyme disease. It takes approximately 48 hours once a tick becomes attached to you or your dog to transmit the bacteria, that is why checking yourself and your dog is so important. The quicker you remove them the better off you both are.

What Do You Need to Know About Multiple Sclerosis

1. Multiple Sclerosis:

Multiple Sclerosis is one amongst the widely afflicting diseases today. It can be interpreted to be a disease of nervous system where it worsens over a period of time with loss of feeling and loss of control of movement and speech. So, MS attacks the individual’s central nervous system that is constituted of different nerves and nerve fibers. It involves a threat to his brain, spinal cord and eye or optical nerves. Basically MS hampers or destructs the protein that safeguards the nerve fibers. This protective protein is known as myelin and it aids in the communication between nerve cells. Once myelin gets burnt up, a breakdown occurs in the nerve cells’ co-ordination. Its effect is visible in the behavior (that drifts from normal to abnormal) of the individual. Along with this there appear lesions and plaques occur on that part of the body where demyelination takes place. But this is not all. Most often the cells that help in regaining myelin are even eliminated. The individual’s body then succumbs to damage and disability.

2. Invoking and Provoking Multiple Sclerosis: Various conditions are deemed to invite multiple sclerosis.

o An individual’s genes are the first and foremost factor that contributes to the risk of developing MS at any stage of life. Medical research reveals that the kids born of those parents where either of them has a history of MS, are largely prone to it.

o Apart from the genes, an environment change is also instrumental in causing MS.

o Viruses of diseases such as herpes, measles, flu etc. have proved to be quite effective in invoking multiple sclerosis.

o Hormones, especially the sex hormones like estrogen and progesterone have weakened the immunity system and instigated MS.

3. The Indications:

MS may be exposed differently in different people or a single person may face various symptoms. Actually, the time MS strikes the nervous system, it becomes manifested via some or the other indicator. For instance, as soon as demyelination begins, the individual may experience lack of balance of his body, tremors, a paralytic attack and so forth. Gradually, these symptoms translate to outburst of the disease.

4. The Varying Features:

According to doctors, there are differing types of multiple sclerosis. The primary is the Relapsing- Remitting MS. As the name suggests, relapsing MS is that where MS dissolves or disappears but only initially, it recurs after a span of time. After relapsing, the disease begins to catch pace and so injure the spinal cord and brain.

If the nervous system starts worsening right after the inception of the symptoms, it is Progressive-Relapsing MS. Similarly there are Primary-Progressive and Secondary Progressive stages of Multiple Sclerosis. At the onset of this disease, the doctors by studying the symptoms determine or adjudicate which form it will take.

5. Diagnosing and Medication

Right after the perception of MS indicators, in order to confront the actual status of multiple sclerosis, doctors ask the individual to undergo different tests. MRI and blood tests are commonly advised to estimate the actual status of the disease. Besides the tests, medicines too are prescribed. There are quite a few good drugs available in the market such as Avonex, Rebif etc. However, MS does not seem to be cured by any of these measures then chemotherapy is the final resort. It is an extremely difficult treatment but it entails positive results.

6. Precautionary Measures:

o The best possible defence against all diseases is the intake of a rich balanced diet that strengthens the immunity system.

o If an individual has a background of diseases like hypertension, kidney issues and fluid retention etc. then the doctor ought to be ultra cautious prior to recommending any medicine. For there can be many serious hostile effects of these antibiotics.

o Those who fear MS due to appearance of some similar symptoms must go for an instant check up. Otherwise also, the people born of any of the MS parents must pay extra heed to their health ad consult doctor time and again.

o The effects of an environmental change should be carefully studied before making any trip to a foreign place.

What Is Irritable Bowel Syndrome and What Causes It?

Is IBS a Disease like Crohn’s or Inflammatory Bowel Disease?

Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is a functional disorder of the gastrointestinal tract. It is not a disease like Crohn’s or inflammatory bowel disease.

Symptoms vary widely from person to person, but they may include some of the following:

• Abdominal pain, sometimes localized to lower left quadrant

• Bloating

• Diarrhea

• Constipation

• Alternating diarrhea/constipation

• Change in stool consistency or appearance

• Mucous in stool

• Feeling of incomplete evacuation after bowel movements

• Sunset onset of uncontrollable urges to have bowel movements

• Excess gas

• Pain when sitting down

• Excess gurgling/rumbling/growling in stomach and abdomen

• Nausea and vomiting

• Burping

• Loss of appetite

• Unpleasant taste in mouth

• Heartburn

• Backache

• Lethargy

• Anxiety and/or depression

• Insomnia

• Heart palpitations

• Irritable bladder or incontinence

• Gynecological problems

As you can see, it is a long list. Many of the symptoms can be caused by other illnesses or conditions. Please do not self-diagnose. See your doctor – or several, if necessary – until you have a specific diagnosis.

If you experience any of the following, get to the hospital or see a doctor immediately. They are NOT symptoms of IBS:

• High temperature

• Blood in stool or fresh bleeding with bowel movements

• Constant, unrelenting pain

Most experts agree that IBS does not cause permanent damage or lead to more serious conditions such as cancer or inflammatory bowel disease.

What Causes IBS?

After talking to several doctors, nurses, and a dietician, I received no answer to this question. There is nothing definitive on the Internet, either. However, criteria have been established that help physicians diagnose irritable bowel syndrome. Called the Rome III Criteria, you can get more information at RomeCriteria.org.

The average patient sees three doctors over three years before finally receiving a proper diagnosis.

The criteria for irritable bowel syndrome are outlined below.

• Recurrent abdominal pain or discomfort at least three days per month in the last six months, associated with two or more of the following:

– Improvement with defecation

– Onset associated with a change in frequency of stool

– Onset associated with a change in form (appearance) of stool

It is important to obtain a specific diagnosis before you assume that you have IBS. Other diseases may cause similar symptoms, and they must be ruled out before making any assumptions. There is no diagnostic test available (yet) that can prove you have irritable bowel syndrome. However, extensive examinations can rule out other, more serious conditions such as celiac disease, bowel cancer, and Crohn’s.

Other Conditions that May Affect People with IBS

According to recent research, those with IBS may also suffer from one or more of the conditions on the following list:

• Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS)

• Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)

• Myofascial pain syndrome (MPS)

• Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)

• Restless leg syndrome (RLS)

• Reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD)

• Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS)

• Periodic limb movement (PLMS)

• Multiple chemical sensitivity syndrome (MCSS)

• Tension headaches

• Irritable bladder

• Primary dysmenorrhea

• Migraine headaches

• Vulvodynia

There may also be an overlap of conditions such as:

• Globus

• Functional chest pain

• Functional heartburn

• Functional dysphagia

• Functional dyspepsia

• Aerophagia

• Functional vomiting

• Rumination syndrome

• Functional abdominal bloating

• Functional constipation

• Functional diarrhea

• Functional abdominal pain

• Gall bladder dysfunction

• Sphincter of Oddi dysfunction

• Functional fecal incontinence

• Functional anorectal pain

• Functional defecation disorders

Functional disorders do not produce abnormal test results and nothing unusual is seen on endoscopy or x-ray. These disorders are generally diagnosed by deciding what they are NOT, and then categorizing them by symptoms.

Disclaimer

The material provided in this article is for informational purposes only. It is not meant to replace proper medical diagnosis, treatment, or advice. Always consult your physician and other appropriate health-care providers before taking any medications, natural remedies, or supplements; or before changing your diet. Discuss all plans, symptoms, and medical conditions with your doctor.

Any use of the ideas contained herein is at your own discretion, risk, and responsibility. The author assumes no liability for any of the information presented. There are no representations or warranties, either express or implied.

You should not begin or discontinue medical treatment based on information contained in this, or any other, article.