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Dear Parrots magazine,

Alexandrine’s recovery from Aspergillosis

Following the news story in the December issue about an Alexandrine Parrot being treated for Aspergillosis...

I do not wish to detract in the least from the excellent news that Valerie Hyrst’s Alexandrine Parrot Tobey is apparently recovering from the deadly fungal infection Aspergillosis. Nor do I want to denigrate what her veterinarian Dr Kathy Fearnside has achieved in treating this case. But, the report suggests that the use of ‘human medication’ is in some way a novel new technique for avian medicine.

In fact, very few medicines are specifically licensed for use in birds, especially companion parrots. The obvious licensed example is the antibiotic ‘Baytril’ (Enrofloxacin), which has a worldwide product licence for prescription for the treatment of bacterial infections in parrots and parakeets, as well as other birds and exotic species. The majority of the other drugs that we use in avian veterinary practice have no product licence for parrots, but are borrowed from poultry medicine, dog and cat medicine, agricultural products and in many cases – the human field.

As prescribing veterinarians, we are privileged to be able to use such products where no legitimate parrot product exists, and such use is generally based on the experience and research of colleagues that have pioneered and researched the treatment of these problems in the past. Thus Dr Fearnside states, “I gave it a try after becoming aware of the treatment from clinical research overseas.”

Aspergillosis is a notoriously unpleasant and difficult infection to treat, and particularly to cure completely. Anti-fungal drugs in regular use in avian veterinary medicine include Voriconazole, Itraconazole (Sporanox), Terbinafine (Lamisil), Amphotericin B (Fungilin, Fungizone) to name but a few. The spice Turmeric is also believed to have an immune-stimulating effect on the body and may reduce the effects of the fungal damage, in conjunction with anti-fungals and supportive treatment.

Alan K. Jones BVetMed MRCVS by email




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