Chlamydophila psittaci infections in exotic birds represent a very common clinical problem. Signs range from acute devastating disease to poor feathering. Chlamydophila psittaci may manifest itself as an upper respiratory infection with nasal, and or ocular discharge, diarrhoea, or a combination of all.
In young birds clinical sings can include rough plumage, low body temperature, tremor, lethargy, conjunctivitis, dyspnea, emaciation, sinusitis, yellow to greenish droppings or greyish watery droppings may also be displayed. Adult birds may develop symptoms such as tremors, lethargy, ruffled feathers, progressive weight loss, greenish diarrhoea, occasional conjunctivitis, and high levels of urates in droppings. Birds infected with Chlamydiaphila psittaci may develop one or several of these symptoms as the disease progresses.
In some cases, birds may be infected but show no signs. These cases are of concern because these birds may become carriers and shed the organism. A major concern with Chlamydophila psittaci is the zoonotic potential of the organism. Chlamydophila psittaci is related to Chlamydia trachomatis, the most common human STD, and Chlamydophila pneumonia, a cause of human pneumonia.
Incubation periods in caged birds vary from days to weeks and longer. Most commonly this period is approximately 3 to 10 days. Latent infections are common and active disease may occur several years after exposure. The incubation period of this disease is however difficult to assess due to these chronically infected birds that develop persistent, asymptomatic infections.
Sample material: Cloacal swab (no transport medium) or a faeces sample submitted in a sterile container or 1-2 drops of EDTA whole blood should be sent. Post mortem material or samples of liver, spleen, or kidney tissue in a sterile container may also be submitted.