Researchers develop new vaccine for lethal disease of pet parrots


Avian Bornavirus causes blindness, heart failure or intestinal blockage.

Researchers at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences (CVM) have developed a highly effective vaccine against a lethal disease that affects captive parrots, according to a university release. The disease, called proventricular dilation disease (PDD), is caused by the avian Bornavirus. The disease causes heart failure, blindness or intestinal blockage.

The use of the vaccine has prevented the development of disease in captive birds with no obvious adverse effects, the release states. The research was performed by Ian Tizard, BVMS, BSc, PhD, DACVM, Jianhua Guo, DVM, PhD, Susan Payne, PhD, and Samer Hameed, graduate student, who all work at the Schubot Exotic Bird Health Center at the CVM.

“Proventricular dilatation disease is an especially nasty infection that kills large numbers of captive birds each year,” says Tizard, the project leader, in the release. “Parrot owners are naturally very distressed when their beloved pet dies in such a manner. The new vaccine is expected to stop the development of this disease and prevent much suffering.”

The next step in developing the vaccine is to seek licensure from the United States Department of Agriculture and then manufacture it commercially, the release states. 

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