PDD is one of the most distressing bird diseases.
These days a combination of appropriate nutrition and anti-inflammatory
drugs has an excellent success rate at maintaining a good quality
of life and even keeping many birds alive indefinitely. The
two stories below (Georgie from the UK and Rafiki from the USA)
describe two birds who are now thriving on Special
Needs Diet was designed specifically to help birds with
PDD and other chronic digestive problems.
- Living with PDD
is still doing exceptionally well and goes from strength to
strength. He now has 80% SND (Special
Needs Diet) and 20% finely ground Feast usually three or
4 times daily (approx 6 or 8 hours apart) mixed with warm water
administered by crop tube. His crop movement has always been
quite slow since PDD was diagnosed hence the gap between feeds.
After the initial 6 months of continuing administration of NSAID
Celebrex he has been pulsing on and off this drug. His condition
has continued to improve. His physical and emotional state is
remarkable under the circumstances and he is certainly in the
best condition of all my Moluccans. I have even mastered the
art of crop feeding him on my own!
Georgie's weight was around 820 grams when he was first diagnosed
with PDD in February and he now weighs around 1075 grams. Consequently
I have reduced the size of his SND and Feast by about 15% to
ensure a maintenance diet instead of a weight gain diet as he
was underweight when diagnosed - (his original weight before
PDD was diagnosed was around 920 grams). I believe Georgie now
to be at his optimum weight and condition for his breed and
size. Although Georgie will eat a little fruit and vegetables,
still he will not eat seed, pellets and refuses all soft food
on a spoon which he used to take willingly before his illness.
When PDD was first diagnosed typically Georgie was a little
quiet, reserved and had less energy without much interest in
his surroundings or toys. Looking back he did not often display
and scream (a quiet Moluccan, what next?). He is now extremely
happy, VERY noisy and terribly naughty. He continually gets
up to all sorts of mischief typical of a happy healthy Moluccan
cockatoo. He regularly performs the typical Moluccan display
with screaming as only a Moluccan can. He is always throwing
toys, seed, fruit and vegetables, water as well as anything
else and thinks all these activities are great fun. He has tried
to mate with my female several times (which of course I discourage)
but has not perfected the art as yet as far as I am aware. He
is extremely cuddly and tame with everyone including the Vet
in all of this, despite extensive veterinary care, together
with so many surgical procedures and of course crop feeding
which he just accepts as normal.
Georgie had a second crop biopsy under anaesthesia last October
which was found to be inconclusive. More recently he has also
had extensive treatment for a beak injury in his nostril area
inflicted by one of my other Moluccans which included two more
anaesthetics involving removal of part of his damaged beak,
as well as removal of bruised and damaged bone & flesh in
his nostril area. His recovery was remarkable as his flesh regenerated
itself extremely quickly with appropriate treatment and his
beak has now regenerated itself. Additionally in the last 6
months or so he has had three occasions of blood loss (one extremely
severe) due to beak and claw damage. Georgie pulled through
all of this and recovered very quickly which I believe demonstrates
how well his immune defence system is performing under such
As I have explained to you before, both vets involved in his
care are amazed at his progress and feel this is all revolutionary
in caring for a PDD parrot. Strathmore Vets in Andover now have
a new avian vet, Mr Simon Girling who is very experienced in
avian care, especially PDD cases. My vet has said that on visual
inspection he would give Georgie a clean bill of health if he
was unaware of his condition.
Although I am resigned to the fact that I may lose Georgie at
any time due to his fatal illness, I take life with Georgie
one day at a time treating every extra day I spend with him
as a bonus. I realise how privileged I am to have had Georgie
in my life for 10 years and especially these last 17 months.
As soon as Georgie's quality of life becomes poor, I will of
course take the appropriate action. However since his crop feeding
he is living a very happy, healthy, high quality life and this
will be my prime focus in his care. Georgie has now started
his 11th 1.5kg tub of Special
Needs Diet. I do use other products in the Birdcare range
as well as SND on my parrots. Interestingly, none of my other
parrots have showed any signs whatsoever of this supposedly
highly contagious disease as yet despite having been in contact
with Georgie on a continuing basis since the onset of PDD.
I cannot thank Birdcare enough for their Special
Needs Diet product. I am certain that I owe these last 17
months with Georgie to Birdcare.
Even if I lose Georgie now, I will always be eternally grateful
to Birdcare for this special time I have had with him. I do
believe that, had this SND product not been available, Georgie
would certainly not be alive today, in such beautiful condition
and incredible health whilst continuing to go from strength
Thank you, Birdcare, for these last 17 months with Georgie.
Words in these circumstances seem so futile but I know he is
alive due to the existence of Birdcare's Special
Incidentally, Georgie went to Strathmore Vet and saw John Chitty
this gone Tuesday for a routine check-up. John said he was in
exceptional condition, his beak injury had healed perfectly
and needed no more treatment. He also told me to continue doing
whatever it was I had been doing to keep Georgie so healthy.
I will of course keep you informed should there be any more
Janet M Worsley
those who want to read on, here is:
Background information on Georgie and his diagnosis of PDD
PDD was first noticed by me due to seeds in his droppings of
which I was always aware and on the lookout for, through experience
of other friends who are parrot keepers/breeders in England.
Georgie was diagnosed with PDD by x-rays and crop biopsies,
which in England is the most effective way of diagnosis on a
live bird. On diagnosis my vet suggested euthanasia, although
he felt that Georgie's general condition was good considering
the seriousness of his illness. My vet had not actually treated
a PDD parrot before, all previous PDD patients had been euthanised
due to their extremely poor condition.
Georgie has also been through some tough times completely unrelated
to PDD in the last 15 months, i.e. several claw breaks with
blood losses, one blood loss extremely severe, as well as a
serious beak injury caused by a bite from one of my other Moluccans.
He has been through 4 anaesthetics since the onset of PDD, 2
were crop biopsies and two were as a result of his beak injury.
His immune system is obviously working extremely well as I feel
he would never have recovered from heavy blood loss, anaesthetics
and such severe injury involving regrowth of flesh if he was
badly affected by PDD or any other serious disease.
I live each day according to Georgie's crop content. If he does
get sick then I time the next feed according to the emptying
of his crop. Georgie has never shown the neurological signs
of PDD, just signs associated with paralysis of the digestive
system and very slow crop movement.
Georgie really has gone from strength to strength in all of
this, although I know and appreciate I could lose him at any
time. I count each extra day with him as so very special and
a God-given bonus, and love him more than anyone could ever
know or understand. I do know that should his quality of life
reduce then I would take the necessary action straight away
because of how much I love him. Of course crop feeding Georgie
3 or 4 times a day is an enormous tie for me. No-one else I
know could do it (apart from veterinary staff) and I would not
in any case trust anyone in case something went wrong.
I also have 3 other Moluccans who live in the same room as Georgie.
To date they have shown no clinical signs of PDD. I made the
decision when Gerogie was first diagnosed with PDD that I would
keep him with my other birds. To end this inter-action would
have been such a cruel way forward for Georgie as this is all
important to him I felt I did not have the right to confiscate
this joy. I also believed that if my other birds were going
to develop PDD they had already been heavily exposed to Georgie
for some time before his diagnosis, so I made what I felt was
the correct heartfelt decision at the time to keep him with
my other birds. I knew I was taking a big risk but I truly believed
his life would not have been worth living had he been isolated
after spending his entire life with my other Moluccans.
We can only do what we feel is right and what is in our heart,
what more can one ask of us? My decision to keep him with the
other birds all that time ago so far has proved to be the right
one. I have heard many times that PDD is nothing like as contagious
as first believed and there are many cases of isolated birds
contracting PDD without any other birds in the collection developing
Georgie has even tried several times to mate with my female
unsuccessfully with the onset of PDD. I have of course never
intended to breed, my birds are pets only and I have been involved
in many rescues of parrots in the past.
I hope this has given you an insight into Georgie's life with
PDD and how I have coped with it so far. I live an extremely
devoted life especially to Georgie and of course to my other
birds and at present am able to continue doing this for all
Georgie is now on his 11th tub of Special
Needs Diet 1.5KG size. I do use other products in the Birdcare
range on Georgie in addition to SND.
Education in parrot care is so important to us parrot owners
and we need to hold hands and make a stand for the sake of all
of these parrots that need so much from us. - Jan Worsley
information about Special Needs Diet
of the most distressing illnesses in captive birds is proventricular
dilatation disease. In this illness the nerves to the gut are
attacked by a virus and the muscular walls of the proventriculus
waste away. The resulting poor digestive performance leads to
a slow starvation of the bird.
it is a viral disease there are no treatments for PDD. However
some patients do successfully fight the virus but the gut damage
cannot be repaired. Vets are having considerable success in
reducing the impact of this disease with anti-inflammatory drugs.
In combination with appropriate dietary supplementation this
is doing a great deal to improve the quality of life of many
Birdcare Company has developed an exciting new food which requires
very little digestive function and also contains ingredients
that help the bird's natural immune system to fight the virus.
Diet is a highly palatable complete food which, when mixed
with water, resembles a nectar food. However the ingredients
used provide much longer lasting energy than conventional diets
as well as a full balance of protein, vitamins and minerals.
A number of specially selected herbal extracts act as a prebiotic
(help create a good environment in the gut for the beneficial
bacteria to thrive), make the gut environment less attractive
for many disease causing organisms and enhance the performance
of the bird's natural immune system. The immune response is
the PDD sufferers only real hope of survival.