Avian Proventricular Dilatation Disease (PDD) is a fatal neurological disorder that affects many species of birds, including parrots and cockatiels. The disease can also cause their proventriculus, the portion of their stomach responsible for secreting digestive enzymes, to become enlarged and dilated.
PDD is a relatively new disease that was first identified in the late 1990s. It’s not fully understood, but it appears to be transmitted through contact with an infected bird or their feces. Symptoms usually become apparent within 4-6 weeks after infection, but they can take up to nine months to show.
PDD is a serious and potentially fatal disease, and it’s important to watch your birds closely for any signs of the disease. Early diagnosis and treatment can help improve the bird’s quality of life and extend their lifespan.
Symptoms of Avian Proventricular Dilatation Diseases (PDD)
- Appetite loss
- Weight loss
- Poor feather health
- Muscle twitching or tremors
- Weakness in their legs, wings, and head
- Difficulty swallowing
- Changes in behavior such as depression or aggression
Diagnosing Avian Proventricular Dilatation Diseases (PDD)
PDD can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are often similar to other diseases. Diagnosis usually involves a physical examination and laboratory tests. A complete blood count, biochemistry profile, urinalysis, and radiographs can help with diagnosis. In some cases, a tissue sample may be taken from the proventriculus for further testing and confirmation of PDD.
Stages of Avian Proventricular Dilatation Diseases (PDD)
PDD is split into three stages:
Your bird may show few to no symptoms. This stage can last up to four weeks.
Your bird will start to have more severe symptoms such as weight loss, poor feather condition, and difficulty swallowing. This stage can last up to eight weeks.
At this point, your bird will be severely ill and may have difficulty breathing, paralysis, and even death.
Treating Avian Proventricular Dilatation Diseases (PDD)
The treatment for PDD is largely supportive with the goal of improving your bird’s quality of life. Treatment may include a combination of antibiotics, antifungal drugs, and anti-inflammatory medications. In some cases, surgery may be required to reduce the size of the proventriculus.
Preventing Avian Proventricular Dilatation Diseases (PDD)
The best way to prevent PDD is to ensure your birds are kept in a clean and hygienic environment. All cages, toys, and perches should be cleaned regularly with disinfectant. It’s also important to limit their contact with other birds that could be infected with the disease.