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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is a long story and might be confusing so brace yourself if you want to go ahead with reading!

so buttercup had a test done at one vet and it showed "mild" psittacosis, right? So then the vet told me she'd need treating and so would Darla because she'd likely caught it too. Now this vet wanted to charge me A LOT for these injections so I decided to go with another avian vet I've been to before who would do the same thing but for less than half the price. This second vet however said that the test that was done by the previous vet was unreliable and didn't give enough information about the stage the psittacosis was at (side note: the test they did was an antibody test and a blood smear, I think the blood smear came back normal and they antibody test showed mild. However for the antibody test to tell you anything particularly helpful you need to repeat it 2 weeks after the first one and compare the two results, which the first vet didn't do nor did they tell me about). This new vet said buttercup might have already fought it off on her own and the "mild" reading might just be tail end of it. Or even if it wasnt the tail end, it might not be severe enough to warrant injections and her immune system might deal with it on her own. She said there's another test that's more reliable but it takes a while to get the results back and I kinda disregarded that because I was freaked out and wanted action now! I said I wanted the injections but she told me she didn't have any right then because the manufacturer had stopped making it for 2 years (doxycycline) and their private little stock pile had run out but the manufacturer had started again and they'd order some in.
Now, I have an appointment for tomorrow morning and the injections are there by now. My issue is that I know that these injections won't cure my birds, it just treats the symptoms and kills the psittacosis bacteria that's actually causing problems at the time. The psittacosis still exists deep in the body (in the cells I think) after treatment but it's "dormant" for lack of a better word. It can come back out and make them sick again at any time, probably during stressful situations. It's very rare for psittacosis to be completely gone from their body, so I've been told.
My question is, if it's not going to go away properly anyway, why am I treating Darla? She seems fine. It might in her system, yes, but if she's not sick with it what's the point? The injections won't get it out of her system anyway. And I hear the injections hurt, a lot. Actually the stress of the weekly vet trips might be enough of a stress to actually make her sick!
I have the same issue with buttercup. She's on antibiotics that I've been told to give her until she gets the injections, but she seems to be picking up a bit. She's still a little off but she was never very sick anyway. If her body is fighting it on its own, aided my the antibiotics I'm giving, then does she need the injections at all or will the psittacosis just kinda settle down on its own?
I can't talk to the vet because she's not working today and the appointment is for early in the morning so I won't have a chance to call before I have a leave to go there anyway.

Hope this wasn't too confusing. I know IM confused, I guess I just want opinions or, if anyone have experience, advice on how to go ahead? I don't want to put them through the injections if it's not necessary but I don't want to leave them without treatment if its going to harm them either......
 

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my limited understanding is that the injection will hopefully prevent a) onset of severe symptoms when the bird is stressed b) passing on to disease to other birds/humans
 

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I don't have any experience with psittacosis and I only have 1 tiel, so I don't want to give you the wrong advice and will let those with experience advise you, but I hope they will both be fine!
PS: Yes, vets and even more tests are so expensive. That's why I was looking at a pet insurance for birds (I posted about it some time ago)...
 

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That's a tough dilemma, because there's no way to know whether Buttercup is sick because of the psittacosis exposure or if she's sick from something else. If the CBC was really normal, then that would suggest neither of them needs antibiotics at all. I'd definitely want to clarify that.

Personally I wouldn't treat for psittacosis just on the basis of an antibody test, which will only tell you whether or not your bird has been exposed at some point. I might treat with oral antibiotics if there was an elevated white count to back that up. I probably wouldn't do the injections without substantial evidence on labs, but that's me.

I'm also not sure I believe that psittacosis really stays latent -- if you look at the literature, nobody is really sure HOW or WHERE the psittacosis stays latent, and there's no test for the organism in latent form. The "latent" psittacosis evidence seems to come mainly from the fact that outbreaks occur where an exposure can't clearly be traced...and I don't think that's conclusive at all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for your replies. I've decided to put off the injections for a while, I've pushed back my appointment for a few days to think more about it. I won't be getting injections for Darla I've decided, but buttercup I'm still not sure about. I agree that the test isn't enough to go off of. I might get another, better, test done. I'm not sure of the name of it but it's only done in this state of Australia and it will tell me for sure if there's an active infection there.
I was told it is intercellular and the bacteria lives on in there, but to be honest I haven't looked at the literature, just talked to a bunch of vets.
The blood smear is what is making me think it's probably not active, to be honest. Hr clicking could be from hitting the wall after a night fright and some bleeding into an air sac that hasn't cleared. Or even caused by scarring from a previous infection she's Already fought off. I'm less inclined to think she's actively sick right at this moment with an infection because the clavulox I have her on isn't doing much to help either.
 

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I was told it is intercellular and the bacteria lives on in there, but to be honest I haven't looked at the literature, just talked to a bunch of vets.
That's what they hypothesize, but I haven't seen any studies that found actual evidence of that. Although, to be fair, researching avian medical science is my hobby and not my job, so it's not like I've been exhaustive.

I do have a bird that clicks from air sac damage and has for many years. I think we're sensitized to feeling that every respiratory symptom is an emergency, and while that's often true, it isn't always true. I think that careful monitoring is very appropriate in situations where a diagnosis isn't clear, and the most invasive treatments are not always the best. I know it's tough to make these decisions, though!
 
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