My birds don’t diminish my air quality – doc.

My birds don’t diminish my air quality – doc.

Water Wind & Stars replied  – Oct 4, 10:12pm

After writing my first message I took a big pile of towels and curtains from the bathroom where my birds’ cage had been located and carried them to the basement to wash the bird dander out; the pile was big enough to cover my nose and mouth.

Not more than 5 minutes after I came back upstairs, I started to cough in the breathless, slightly spasming way that has been the main symptom of my lung issue.

The coughing didn’t last for more than a few minutes — then it calmed down and was over — but there was the proof in the pudding! The big pile of towels from the birds’ room had set off the response.

The woman who adopted the birds today on a trial basis is very willing to keep the birds if I can’t take them back, which I now know I cannot, and they will be in a very good home, I made very sure of that.

My first symptoms started within a month of bringing the birds home and continued to worsen in the coming months.

So yes, I realize now that different species affect different people differently and in my case, sadly the beautiful little parrotlet and lovebird did set off an allergic reaction.

The good news is that the adopter, who has years of experience with birds, already has a pair of bonded lovebirds and she wrote me this evening that already the two little outposts of bonded birdies within visual and hearing range of each other were singing back and forth!

That was balm to my hurting heart. She lives only 5 minutes away so I can visit them now and then.

I can’t tell you how terribly it hurt when I first heard that the cause of my lung issues was Lulu and Louie.

 

It seems to be working out for the best for all of us. Thank you for listening and I hope my set of messages may be useful to you as one person’s experience with this difficult topic. Sonia Kovitz

Water Wind & Stars replied – Oct 4, 4:54pm

Are you aware of significant differences between one species and another re: causing allergic reactions in the lungs of humans?

I have had cockatiels, a conure, and a quaker parrot over the years– have had the quaker for a full decade with nary a lung problem and I have no other allergies. 

In May I bought a bonded pair, Parrotlet and Lovebird, and starting in June began having strange and unprecedented cough, breathing and lung symptoms plus inexplicable weight loss.

In Sept I had XRay, then CT-scan and lungs show allergic inflammation.

Yesterday a specialist evaluated all this and his primary hypothesis in view of all other factors is that the two birds I got in May are the cause.

I am lucky enough to have someone willing to keep them for a month (permanently only if necessary) while I get more tests.

What is your general (not medical) reaction to this scenario? Please excuse me if this is not an appropriate question to ask but you have a lot of bird-human experience.

I plan also to contact some local avian vets and run this past them.

In a nutshell, I am heartbroken and wonder whether there is any real chance the doctor’s hypothesis will turn out to be wrong.

Just want to hear more opinions. Thank you, Sonia Kovitz and

Hi Sonia

It is not dander that you’re reacting to, it’s environmental dust and allergens.

Let’s first talk about bird’s/parrot’s and dander a.k.a. dust. Feathers that have the most contact to a bird’s skin produce the white powder known as bird dust.

It’s the shredded ends of the feathers that are the actual dust.

You can thank that remarkably soft feel of your birds feathers – to the dust.

Known bird dust species are

  • African Greys
  • Cockatoos
  • Cockatiels
  • Amazons

Amazons by the way, have a darker dust so it’s usually less noticeable

Hypoallergenic parrot species are

  • Electus
  • Parakeets (or Budgies). 
  • Pionus
  • Toucans

Love birds and parrotlets produce no noticeable dander – 

We believe everything that comes out of doctor’s mouths – why? They can’t be knowledgeable about everything – right?

Birds can’t afford to have their tiny air passages that drive a super efficient respiratory system, clog up.

If a bird’s air passages are blocked because of too much dander and dust, the bird will get sick and have a shortened lifespan.

If you clean your cages regularly, that will go a long way to all but eliminate and the possibility of fecal particulate.

Bathing your birds regularly will go miles to keep dander at a minimum

We live in the geographical center of Chicago, use air-conditioning very little,

Unless we stand top of just dusting,  the dust on our furniture can become, well a nuisance and health problem. 

editors note: How much dander can a 100 g animal make? Is it enough to trigger an asthma episode in a human?

Let’s first talk about bird’s/parrot’s and dander a.k.a. dust. Feathers that have the most contact to a bird’s skin produce the white powder known as bird dust.

BTW – I think your doctor is way off base and absolutely dead wrong.

He is saying you have birds thus the birds are making you sick BUT Correlation does not necessarily imply causation no more than ice cream triggers polio (watch the quick video)

If the air quality was that bad all your birds would be lying on the bottom of their cages.

Birds are first responders for air quality.

This is because their lungs are far more sensitive than yours – think canary in a coal mine.

All you need is a $800 HEPA air purifier.

Don’t have 800 bucks to blow? How about if you can duplicate the effect of an $800 Hepa air purifier for about 25 bucks?

Watch this video and your problems you can be breathing clean air tomorrow. What do you have to lose?  – please don’t give up the birds.

best

mitchr

more on the subject of air quality doctors and bird can be found here

Mitch Rezman

He's handled a 1000 birds of numerous species when they visited monthly birdie brunches in the old Portage Park (Chicago, IL) facility. The one with the parrot playground. Mitch has written and published more than 1100 articles on captive bird care. He's met with the majority of  CEO's and business owners for most brands in the pet bird space and does so on a regular basis. He also constantly interacts with avian veterinarians and influencers globally.

This Post Has 36 Comments

  1. I’m so sorry Sonia is dealing with these lung issues! I’d like to to comment on.. a pile of towels and curtains in a bird room, so big it was over your face? It seems a bird room needs the least amount of cloth possible, so it’s not trapping all the little feather particles, etc. Mitch, isn’t there a concern over the spores – or, what am I thinking of – on bird droppings, and they have to be cleaned up quickly and consistently?

    1. She said she kept the poor little ones in a bathroom? That many towels etc could not be just from those 2 little birds. I’m glad they’re happy now.

      1. Doctors, pulmonologists in particular, will ask extensive quesitions about your environment including your house and workplace.

  2. I’m so sorry Sonia is dealing with these lung issues! I’d like to to comment on.. a pile of towels and curtains in a bird room, so big it was over your face? It seems a bird room needs the least amount of cloth possible, so it’s not trapping all the little feather particles, etc. Mitch, isn’t there a concern over the spores – or, what am I thinking of – on bird droppings, and they have to be cleaned up quickly and consistently?

  3. a few seconds ago

    She said she kept the poor little ones in a bathroom? That many towels etc could not be just from those 2 little birds. I’m glad they’re happy now.
    My husband has COPD and we have 2 CAGs, a Cockatoo, an Amazon, a Cockatiel, Quaker, Conure and 2 Budgies. His Pulmonologist said the birds should not be a problem. The so not seem to be.
    As Lisa said, you have to keep them clean. Especially for their own well being.

    1. I’ve had the same replys form pulmonologists Linduh – Please read my reply to Brooke (above) you may find it interesting

  4. a few seconds ago

    She said she kept the poor little ones in a bathroom? That many towels etc could not be just from those 2 little birds. I’m glad they’re happy now.
    My husband has COPD and we have 2 CAGs, a Cockatoo, an Amazon, a Cockatiel, Quaker, Conure and 2 Budgies. His Pulmonologist said the birds should not be a problem. The so not seem to be.
    As Lisa said, you have to keep them clean. Especially for their own well being.

    1. I’ve had the same replys form pulmonologists Linduh – Please read my reply to Brooke (above) you may find it interesting

  5. Hi! You are seriously misinformed on this topic! One’s lungs can become HYPERSENSITIVE to birds feathers, dust, and droppings. There is an actual disease and it is called Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis. If a cause and effect can be established between birds and this disease it is called Bird Fancier’s Disease. Don’t poo-poo this! If the condition becomes chronic you can die from it. You can have birds at home for years and years and develop this condition. I did! After years (at least 30) of having birds (a variety of birds over the years) my lungs became hypersensitive to birds. One becomes tired, can’t breathe well, has a dry cough, loses weight. Inflammation of the lungs will show up on x-rays and CT scans. Your body is producing an immune response. Prednisone can help, but it’s not good for long periods of time. I am on an immunosuppressant to stop my body from reacting to the bird ‘stuff’. You can google the disease and find out more. There is also a Facebook page “Living with Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis” if you want to know more.

    1. That’s right Brooke! Bird lovers need to know this! I lived with parakeets, cockatiel, love birds, doves and a sun conure over the course of 20 years. Now I’m on oxygen 24/7. I have to leave the home of my family after 20 years because I developed an allergic lung reaction to birds!

      1. I am sorry for your illness Georgianna. What was the smoking pistol that made you absolutely sure it was the birds?

    2. It’s a pleasure to meet you Brooke. To your point that I am “seriously misinformed”, I refer you to my blog post of February 26, 2016 entitled “Why doctors should be prescribing pet birds”

      you would see that I spoke about it hypersensitivity pneumonitis here: https://www.birdandparrot.info/blog/2016/02/26/doctors-prescribing-pet-birds/

      “inhalation of avian antigens may cause hypersensitivity pneumonitis, neither hypersensitivity pneumonitis nor pulmonary fibrosis, which occasionally results, is associated with lung cancer”.

      and

      ” Bird fancier’s lung (BFL), also called bird-breeder’s lung and pigeon-breeder’s lung, is a subset of hypersensitivity pneumonitis (HP)”

      The problem I have with the argument that the birds were the cause of your long affliction is missing information.

      In less you will perform the following tests in your home there’s no way to isolate the disease and related to the birds.

      Did you have an air quality control specialist come into your home and test your air for airborne particulate counter?

      Did you cut open a section of wall in each room of the house to inspect for mold?

      Did you empty your refrigerator and a suspect from mold?

      Did you empty all your kitchen cabinets of food including the pantry and expect for mold?

      Was your attic thoroughly inspected to make sure there were no bats or bat droppings or insect infestations?

      Was your basement or crawl space inspected thoroughly with things being pulled out away from the walls looking for mold and rodent droppings?

      Do you follow the air-quality statistics of the town at your end to make sure that the air itself is safe?

      Which then begs the question how much dust or dander does hundred gram bird weighg The birds are hundred grams but probably only 25% of its 5000 feathers touching skin so the bird is preening 1250 feathers

      A chicken feather ways about 0.0082 grams. If 1% of that feather becomes dust that’s about .00082 grams times 1250 = 1.025 grams.

      I would think that if over the period of three weeks, 21 g of particulate were in the air in a human freeze in what 2 g event is the rest is dissipated?

      I would think that if 2 g the feather dust over a period of 21 days takes an individual’s respiratory system down, that individual had a compromised respiratory system before getting rid of the birds – call me crazy.

      You want to blame it on the birds you’re certainly entitled to do that but there’s not one logical bit of evidence that I see to share your or Sonia’s doctors same conclusion.

      The reality is that the only individuals that I have heard of getting any sort of respiratory disease from birds are breeders or homing pigeon fanciers.

      mitchr

      1. The answer to all your questions above are ‘yes’. I had all those tests done on my house and the tests showed nothing. My pulmonologist suggested it, and he also performed many environmental antigen tests on my blood for all sorts of things. You are wrong about pulmonologists not considering the patient’s environment! If one becomes hypersensitive to birds it doesn’t take 1.025 grams to cause the disease, it can take much less! You have become HYPERSENSITIVE! It is an autoimmune disease. Have you have heard of lupus? It is also an autoimmune disease. In lupus the body attacks itself. In hypersensitivity pneumonitis the body attacks the lungs, in attempt to ‘protect’ them from the antigen. That protection is inflammation of the lungs that can lead to pulmonary fibrosis, and that is not reversible. Hypersensitivity pneumonitis does not cause cancer, as you wrote above. And, the answer to your question as to why aren’t the other birds in the household suffering?… They are not hypersensitive to their own antigens. I respect your opinion, however, it is only an opinion. It is not based on face. There is lots of literature, research, and studies, that have proven that bird antigen can cause hypersensitivity pneumonitis. And, there are folks I know who had birds of all types for either short periods of time or long periods of time who got the disease. This could be an excellent opportunity for you to educate yourself and your readers about the disease and inform your readers of its existence. None of the folks that I know that got HP from their birds had ever heard of the disease’s existence. And, many of them, like you, refused to believe it and kept their birds after they had the symptoms, and after awhile their disease became chronic and their lungs got worse and they developed pulmonary fibrosis. Yes, perhaps only a small fraction will develop this disease, as I did, but people have the right to know that it exists. BTW – your arguments above sound like the tobacco companies’ years ago that knew you could get cancer and emphysema from their products but chose to make money instead. The American Lung Association recognizes HP and also recognizes that birds can cause it. They’re not some ‘fly-by-night’ organization. I loved the myriad of parrots I had over the years, sometimes several at a time. I miss them all terribly. All I ask for now is education of others about this disease, so that should other bird owners experience the symptoms they may recognize them and will visit their doctor right away. You are in a unique position to educate your readers, help to reduce the cases of chronic hypersensitivity pneumonitis, and perhaps even save lives.

        1. Right now Brooke I have two anecdotal stories against 14 million captive bird owners in the United States (and a third from a couple of years ago).

          It’s important to note that I have 1/2 million people follow me in social media – I’m just not getting your feedback

          I’ll not start lecturing anyone untill I get my data straight.

          regarding “And, the answer to your question as to why aren’t the other birds in the household suffering?… They are not hypersensitive to their own antigens”

          You are correct but…. The dust would be clogging there air passages and they would be suffering and I’m not seeing that

          That said could you please forward me copies of any in-home air environmental reports that I can look at to check against others that I have collected?

          FYI – from 1998 to 2002 I lived with a severe asthmatic. Our first date was spent in an oxygen tent at Del Nor community Hospital in Batavia Illinois.

          She had 3 parrots – a ringneck, Pionus, Cherry headed conure and apparently made medical history with her consumption of prednisone.

          I spent two years trying to isolate the asthmatic triggers with the help of pulmonary therapists that would come to the home.

          We replace the carpeting with hardwood floors in the drywall in the kitchen and bathroom that had been heavily infected with mold because of plumbing issues which went a long way to reduce for triggers

          I am not naïve to HP.

          Because I’ve interacted with three cage bird keepers who have, or claim to have HP out of the tens of thousands of bird keepers I’ve interacted with for the past 15 years I’m sorry to say your statements are suspect until I see the test results data

  6. Hi! You are seriously misinformed on this topic! One’s lungs can become HYPERSENSITIVE to birds feathers, dust, and droppings. There is an actual disease and it is called Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis. If a cause and effect can be established between birds and this disease it is called Bird Fancier’s Disease. Don’t poo-poo this! If the condition becomes chronic you can die from it. You can have birds at home for years and years and develop this condition. I did! After years (at least 30) of having birds (a variety of birds over the years) my lungs became hypersensitive to birds. One becomes tired, can’t breathe well, has a dry cough, loses weight. Inflammation of the lungs will show up on x-rays and CT scans. Your body is producing an immune response. Prednisone can help, but it’s not good for long periods of time. I am on an immunosuppressant to stop my body from reacting to the bird ‘stuff’. You can google the disease and find out more. There is also a Facebook page “Living with Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis” if you want to know more.

    1. That’s right Brooke! Bird lovers need to know this! I lived with parakeets, cockatiel, love birds, doves and a sun conure over the course of 20 years. Now I’m on oxygen 24/7. I have to leave the home of my family after 20 years because I developed an allergic lung reaction to birds!

      1. I am sorry for your illness Georgianna. What was the smoking pistol that made you absolutely sure it was the birds?

    2. It’s a pleasure to meet you Brooke. To your point that I am “seriously misinformed”, I refer you to my blog post of February 26, 2016 entitled “Why doctors should be prescribing pet birds”

      you would see that I spoke about it hypersensitivity pneumonitis here: https://www.windycityparrot.com/blog/2016/02/26/doctors-prescribing-pet-birds/

      “inhalation of avian antigens may cause hypersensitivity pneumonitis, neither hypersensitivity pneumonitis nor pulmonary fibrosis, which occasionally results, is associated with lung cancer”.

      and

      ” Bird fancier’s lung (BFL), also called bird-breeder’s lung and pigeon-breeder’s lung, is a subset of hypersensitivity pneumonitis (HP)”

      The problem I have with the argument that the birds were the cause of your long affliction is missing information.

      In less you will perform the following tests in your home there’s no way to isolate the disease and related to the birds.

      Did you have an air quality control specialist come into your home and test your air for airborne particulate counter?

      Did you cut open a section of wall in each room of the house to inspect for mold?

      Did you empty your refrigerator and a suspect from mold?

      Did you empty all your kitchen cabinets of food including the pantry and expect for mold?

      Was your attic thoroughly inspected to make sure there were no bats or bat droppings or insect infestations?

      Was your basement or crawl space inspected thoroughly with things being pulled out away from the walls looking for mold and rodent droppings?

      Do you follow the air-quality statistics of the town at your end to make sure that the air itself is safe?

      Which then begs the question how much dust or dander does hundred gram bird weighg The birds are hundred grams but probably only 25% of its 5000 feathers touching skin so the bird is preening 1250 feathers

      A chicken feather ways about 0.0082 grams. If 1% of that feather becomes dust that’s about .00082 grams times 1250 = 1.025 grams.

      I would think that if over the period of three weeks, 21 g of particulate were in the air in a human freeze in what 2 g event is the rest is dissipated?

      I would think that if 2 g the feather dust over a period of 21 days takes an individual’s respiratory system down, that individual had a compromised respiratory system before getting rid of the birds – call me crazy.

      You want to blame it on the birds you’re certainly entitled to do that but there’s not one logical bit of evidence that I see to share your or Sonia’s doctors same conclusion.

      The reality is that the only individuals that I have heard of getting any sort of respiratory disease from birds are breeders or homing pigeon fanciers.

      mitchr

      1. The answer to all your questions above are ‘yes’. I had all those tests done on my house and the tests showed nothing. My pulmonologist suggested it, and he also performed many environmental antigen tests on my blood for all sorts of things. You are wrong about pulmonologists not considering the patient’s environment! If one becomes hypersensitive to birds it doesn’t take 1.025 grams to cause the disease, it can take much less! You have become HYPERSENSITIVE! It is an autoimmune disease. Have you have heard of lupus? It is also an autoimmune disease. In lupus the body attacks itself. In hypersensitivity pneumonitis the body attacks the lungs, in attempt to ‘protect’ them from the antigen. That protection is inflammation of the lungs that can lead to pulmonary fibrosis, and that is not reversible. Hypersensitivity pneumonitis does not cause cancer, as you wrote above. And, the answer to your question as to why aren’t the other birds in the household suffering?… They are not hypersensitive to their own antigens. I respect your opinion, however, it is only an opinion. It is not based on face. There is lots of literature, research, and studies, that have proven that bird antigen can cause hypersensitivity pneumonitis. And, there are folks I know who had birds of all types for either short periods of time or long periods of time who got the disease. This could be an excellent opportunity for you to educate yourself and your readers about the disease and inform your readers of its existence. None of the folks that I know that got HP from their birds had ever heard of the disease’s existence. And, many of them, like you, refused to believe it and kept their birds after they had the symptoms, and after awhile their disease became chronic and their lungs got worse and they developed pulmonary fibrosis. Yes, perhaps only a small fraction will develop this disease, as I did, but people have the right to know that it exists. BTW – your arguments above sound like the tobacco companies’ years ago that knew you could get cancer and emphysema from their products but chose to make money instead. The American Lung Association recognizes HP and also recognizes that birds can cause it. They’re not some ‘fly-by-night’ organization. I loved the myriad of parrots I had over the years, sometimes several at a time. I miss them all terribly. All I ask for now is education of others about this disease, so that should other bird owners experience the symptoms they may recognize them and will visit their doctor right away. You are in a unique position to educate your readers, help to reduce the cases of chronic hypersensitivity pneumonitis, and perhaps even save lives.

  7. I have two Congo Grays, and had a wonderful Umbrella for twenty years ( I lost her to cancer a year ago). When I held my cockatoo with something dark on, I would be left with a visible cockatoo print on the front of whatever I was wearing. I have had asthma for sixty years, and would, probably, be diagnosed with COPD if I bothered. I have a good filter in the living room ( the aviary) with the birds, and bathe them weekly, Sunday is bath day, (outside except for winter, in the tub with the mist attachment in winter). I also have two Double-yellows and a Nanday, and, most of the time, a Spectacled Amazon to boot.
    Lots of things affect my lungs, cigarette smoke, strong perfumes, dust, paint fumes, new carpet, fresh-mown grass, and some years the real Christmas tree will trigger me.
    I have an inhaler if it is a problem, and after decades of birds, I can tell you that they are not the problem. I work away from my house weekdays, and there has never been any significant change in my breathing. I am sure there are some people out there who are allergic to birds ( cats make me itch), but overall, they are not a health hazard, and if rehoming her birds makes this woman feel better, so be it. A better solution is to spend a lot of time around any animal before you make a commitment to it. They feel the loss and betrayal just like we do, when you make that promise of a home, then take it back.

    1. I fully agree Lynn – you may be interested in my response to Brook below – the other 900# gorilla is why aren;t the other birds in the household suffering?

      best mitchr

  8. I have two Congo Grays, and had a wonderful Umbrella for twenty years ( I lost her to cancer a year ago). When I held my cockatoo with something dark on, I would be left with a visible cockatoo print on the front of whatever I was wearing. I have had asthma for sixty years, and would, probably, be diagnosed with COPD if I bothered. I have a good filter in the living room ( the aviary) with the birds, and bathe them weekly, Sunday is bath day, (outside except for winter, in the tub with the mist attachment in winter). I also have two Double-yellows and a Nanday, and, most of the time, a Spectacled Amazon to boot.
    Lots of things affect my lungs, cigarette smoke, strong perfumes, dust, paint fumes, new carpet, fresh-mown grass, and some years the real Christmas tree will trigger me.
    I have an inhaler if it is a problem, and after decades of birds, I can tell you that they are not the problem. I work away from my house weekdays, and there has never been any significant change in my breathing. I am sure there are some people out there who are allergic to birds ( cats make me itch), but overall, they are not a health hazard, and if rehoming her birds makes this woman feel better, so be it. A better solution is to spend a lot of time around any animal before you make a commitment to it. They feel the loss and betrayal just like we do, when you make that promise of a home, then take it back.

    1. I fully agree Lynn – you may be interested in my response to Brook below – the other 900# gorilla is why aren;t the other birds in the household suffering?

      best mitchr

  9. I presently have 4 parrots. When I was rescuing parrots the most I had was 10 in a Chicago apartment. I never compromised air quality. I regularly misted them and cleaned their cages. I didn’t have fabric curtains. I have blinds which were dusted frequently.

    The Drs are wrong. You can’t blame a birds dander if you keep things clean.

    I actually had this debate a few years ago with a Dr when I was their with a friend.

    The Dr had no proof, only what he read. He had no clue how much dander a bird has or if they even had dander. He didn’t know birds bathe regularly.
    He admitted he was misinformed. It turned into a great conversation.

      1. Hi Brooke,

        Thank you for sending. I am aware of people being able to get a sensitivity to certain things, but many other things can also factor in. The environment the person is in and was there something prior in the person’s DNA already there as a precursor.

        I also know that with anything a person does or works with, if there is proper ventilation, the chance of this happening lessons a great deal.

        I have a friend that has a large cattle ranch and he grows his own hay. We had this discussion. He’s been doing it for 30 years. He said he is aware of the chances, but there are also preventatives, such as who sticks their face in a hay bale of mold? And the barn is cleaned daily, especially in the winter because the doors can’t be left open like in the summer.

        I have to think would a person that kept their pets clean and the area they live in clean, would they still get sick.

        Keeping any pet in a small room with little to no ventilation is not only harmful to the person but to your pet. If a person does not clean their curtains, wash their floors and for me I power wash my cages in the Spring and before the snow flies. My 2 older cages are my biggest for my Macaws and even though California Cage used to make a great cage, they’re in need of a new one. Until then, I make sure I wipe down as much as I can, especially all the hard to reach spots by the grates. If I don’t, the area can get went and nasty and I’m sure not healthy.

        Birds require lot of consistent cleaning that many people don’t realize because they don’t think about it until they come across it. I had a friend in Chicago that rescued mostly macaws, many were wild caught that people could not handle, except her. The first time I went over to her house, even though she had over 20 macaws in her living room, the room was clean and did not smell. Yes it was loud, especially the wild caught ones, but she cleaned that room daily. Took her hours to feed, water and clean. I learned a lot from her. She always preached to people the importance of being clean with everything.

          1. I hope you have a great day! I hear its been hot there. I woke up to 13 degrees.

        1. If your lungs become HYPERSENSITIVE you don’t need to put your face in a bale of hay, or right next to mold, or on your bird/s. Cleaning will not be enough if you become hypersensitive. I hope you don’t get the disease. It’s rare, but increasing. Please stay aware of this disease in case you, friends, or family experience the symptoms. Good luck!

  10. I presently have 4 parrots. When I was rescuing parrots the most I had was 10 in a Chicago apartment. I never compromised air quality. I regularly misted them and cleaned their cages. I didn’t have fabric curtains. I have blinds which were dusted frequently.

    The Drs are wrong. You can’t blame a birds dander if you keep things clean.

    I actually had this debate a few years ago with a Dr when I was their with a friend.

    The Dr had no proof, only what he read. He had no clue how much dander a bird has or if they even had dander. He didn’t know birds bathe regularly.
    He admitted he was misinformed. It turned into a great conversation.

  11. I was recently told by a very reputable bird breeder that I needed to get some kind of air cleaner in my home because my cockatoo powder can cause a very serious lung problem. I bathe him every other day, but he does put out a lot of powder in between. Him being on me leaves my clothes with quite a bit. Do you know of anyone else that has a cockatoo and developed a lung problem? I’d like to find out what kind of air cleaner is the best ( and inexpensive) to purchase.

      1. Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis, which is what you can develop from BREEDING birds:- it’s unlikely 2 or 3 birds in the home will trigger the disease

        1. One bird can trigger the disease on the first day you bring it home. On the other hand, you may not develop the hypersensitivity until years later. It’s a rare disorder, so hopefully you will stay free of it. It’s important that you’re aware of the disease and its symptoms so that if you do exhibit the symptoms you will know.

      2. Thank you, Brooke! What did you do about it?

    1. Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter
      Use a HEPA air purifier
      I think you can get them at Walmarts

  12. I was recently told by a very reputable bird breeder that I needed to get some kind of air cleaner in my home because my cockatoo powder can cause a very serious lung problem. I bathe him every other day, but he does put out a lot of powder in between. Him being on me leaves my clothes with quite a bit. Do you know of anyone else that has a cockatoo and developed a lung problem? I’d like to find out what kind of air cleaner is the best ( and inexpensive) to purchase.

  13. I have acute allergies. Wearing a surgical mask while cleaning has prevented symptoms.

  14. Brooke,
    I have studied “bird-keepers” disease ( with all it’s other names), and I have had friends with Lupus, and M, and am quite conversant on auto-immune disorders. Please do not have the audacity to preach to others about these or other conditions. It is one thing to state what you know to be a fact, in your own experience, but to attempt to drag me into your set of circumstances was wrong, and I resent it. Perhaps one of the things that needs to be entered into this conversation is bio0feedback and the myriad ways in which humans can affect their bodies responses to different stimuli.
    This is not the place for me to expound, but, believe me when I tell you that humans are a lot more resilient than most of them know. and the beneficial side to have pets is astounding. Just popping in and reading this set of comments makes having companion birds sound like you are, literally, taking your life in your hands. Nothing could be further from the truth.
    That said, if someone has second thoughts about being responsible for any animal, rehome them, and,please, don’t get another. Not everyone is capable of giving what it takes to be a compassionate and responsible pet owner, and birds need every bit of that.
    Lynne

  15. I have a grey – Enzo, he makes a good bit of dust but an incredible mess from his food. He is ok with showers if I’m in there too. We keep on top of his messes every other day at most, don’t want fruit flies or a dead bird. I’m ok with Enzo as long as I’m not breathing thru his feathers even though it’s fun to blow thru them and make them squeak and hum. I will also blow in his beak and he will swish his tongue back and forth, he laughs at this and wants to do it again and again. Silly bird. We don’t do that often but if he follows commands and is real good, it’s his favorite treat.
    That said, he still produces a good bit of birdy dust. We had a U2. I loved that crazy bird, other than he was super loud if he wanted attention. I was also breading red tails and bearded dragons (Out of eden reptiles) we don’t exsist anymore. We thought that my lung issues were from a sulfur mine fire in Mosul Iraq in 2003 and yellow air-pollution while on the mountains at a secret max security prison. We thought that the rats and other small animals were the cause of my lung attacks (asthma like).
    It wasn’t until this one day that I had to clean Fred’s cage that we figured it out. I cleaned the cage, breathing was labored but ok. When I started to clean up some of the kids toys and the birds mess, I kicked up some of his dust in places we don’t normally get to. I had an anaphylaxis shock-attack so bad I thought I was going to die. Almost did. I couldn’t breath, my hands and ears itches badly, throat closed up, eyes burned and I couldn’t barely see, etc. it was bad.
    Other than my regular duty day, the only thing I did was to take care of Fred and his mess, which the wife normally did.
    Now armed with an epi-pen and an idea, we tested it out. In the garage, where the rodent cages were, I hand scrubbed everything, even played with a few of the dumbo’s who were awesome pets. Skin itches where their claws poked the skin, but that was all.
    Then I went in to Fred’s room which was also my daughters playroom. I was ok in the room. I handled Fred, gave him scratches and such, lungs started to tighten up. Used a duster and started to dust the top of his cage and boom. My daughter had to run and get the epi-pen.
    We proved it was the U-2’s dust. We’re not dirty or lazy. Everything had a daily maintenance regimen. Fred and Enzo had regular baths, daily clean ups, weekly cage scrubs and surrounding area cleaning with damp cloths.
    That umbrella cockatoo just creates so much dang dust that even after waddling thru water and acting like a seal, Fred would whiten your black shirt 2 hours after his bath.
    I won’t accept anyone saying that you can’t be allergic to bird dust as my cockatoo’s dust put me in the hospital at least 4 times.
    Even today, if I go to a specialty exotics shop that has big birds, I have to have my epi-pen and plan a quick exit as soon as I start to tighten up or the palm of my hands start to itch.
    It happens, it can happen and it did happen. I still have Enzo the Grey, but had to rehome Fred the U2. I loved him, had him for 3 years and it broke my heart to let him go, but I would have died if I didn’t do it. He went to a home that had another male U2. They talk in their squeaky voice, play and hop all day long.
    Enzo will cause my eyes to itch if I handle him and then touch my face before washing my hands, need to practice clean hands care. The cockatoo was a very dirty bird and we kept up on his cage/home/room.
    Is this common? No, but proven possible and confirmed.
    To the birds, they have systems in place to protect themselves… to a point. Just like the yellow pollen from pine trees is too big to fit in the receptors of human noses and cause allergies, because they can’t… birds can handle quite a bit of their own dust without illnesses as long as it isn’t crazy dirty or molds and germs growing, building and infecting.
    Our rooms were as clean as they get, but, it was enough to almost kill me. Fred was perfectly fine.
    So, could the original author have allergies to the new birds dust? Unlikely but…. plausible. You are NOT an allergy doc nor did you see her scans and charts. If the only change was the birds and the problems started about 2 weeks to a month after getting the birds, I would bet an entire paycheck that she WAS having an allergic or light anaphylaxis reaction to the bird dust.
    There are not many of us, but we exsist. I’m highly allergic to cats, but have 2 that I’m ok with as long as I don’t touch or bury my face and cover my pillow when not in use. We can be allergic to some birds that are dusty but not others that are oily.
    Accept that her doc might be on the money. Mine was after isolation testing.

    1. Trust me, I get it Jobe17. I know the disease is real and I’m not denying anything. And it makes sense for your particular circumstances. If you have a Congo gray you have a 400 to 450 g bird.

      Congo grays are also known as “dust birds”. Bird dust can also negatively impact a bird’s own respiratory system.

      This blog post is about a woman who is blaming the disease on a lovebird and a parrotlet (neither of whom are known to be dust birds) who have a combined weight of 75 g that produce by her air quaility test results that she submitted to me indicating 4 millionths of a gram of feather dust per mL was found in the bird room’s air.

      By your comment I don’t think you read the entire post so you may be interested in this $25 air filtration system video

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kH5APw_SLUU

      best

      mitchr

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