Sunday, January 24, 2010

Quarantining (Again)

soapbox.gif soap box image by akapody

I believe I'm preaching to the choir when I talk about how absolutely essential quarantine is. Yet, I continue to be so disappointed to read posts on bird boards from people obtaining birds from anywhere (most especially pet stores), and immediately introducing them to their existing flock.

The rationalization for this? (As if there were one...)

These deem themselves able to identify not just a sick bird (one laying on its back at the bottom of a cage), but also to determine when a bird is healthy and 100% disease free! Now, this is an amazing skill. So read on. Those with this skill have a number of possible career paths before them.

For these who are seemingly able to simply look at a bird and tell it is healthy, or who further state they will "certainly keep an eye on it and take it to the vet at the first signs of illness", the sky is the limit to the amount of money that can be made in a few different careers.

For example, these folks can work at one of the many quarantine stations in countries around the world! Any one of them would be thrilled to employ one of such great talent, and gladly pay a pretty penny for the skill. Imagine the time and money these countries could save with this person at a desk all day long simply giving the ol' thumbs-up or thumbs-down as animals were paraded past them? A few coffee breaks, and they could still have 100 or more birds file past their desk each day. I know that you might point out they are not avian veterinarians, or any kind of veterinarian, but their ability to spot a healthy bird when they see one will really help out the worldwide quarantine stations. After all, they'd know if a bird was sick... and they are able to pick a healthy bird out of a crowd to take home to their personal flock. Bird owners around the world would be fortunate to have such a person responsible for assuring that only healthy, disease free animals are permitted into the respective countries.

No need to wonder if the bird was harboring a disease that would come out during the stress of moving to a new home. No need to worry if the bird carried psittacosis but had not yet developed symptoms. No need to be concerned that the bird was a carrier of any disease!

Oh, and another career opportunity would be working in a vet's office. How much money could be saved performing silly blood tests, fecal tests or other swabs? No need for any of that...

As long as the person had a thumb that was capable of moving up and down, no other office supplies would be needed. No tests, and they certainly wouldn't even take up much space in the vet's office. What a time and money saver!

Surely I jest?

Not when the life of a flock (or a single bird) is at stake. I will take the possible scraping to my knees that might occur if I fall off my soap box. My knees will heal. An entire flock becoming infected, suffering, not to mention the medical expense because someone played roulette? It isn't like we cannot point to documented case after documented case of pet store birds being infected with everything from mites to psittacosis to avian gastric yeast and more.

We acknowledge that it is impossible to look at a human and determine if they are infected with the swine flu, TB or many, many other diseases. Oh, if it were that easy, the swine flu and other such communicable diseases would not be so easily spread. We'd see someone coming down the aisle toward us in the grocery store, and know to turn the other way and run and thereby completely avoid getting the flu. We acknowledge that the period of time when a human is contagious is often the period of time when they are symptom free. But we do not apply the same logic to others of the animal kingdom?

Instead, there are those fortunate few who simply have the amazing ability to pick out a healthy bird and thus quarantine is unnecessary.

If we don't care about the health of our flocks, what about the pain and money that will be incurred if illness sets in? And the sadness and guilt if God-forbid a death occurs?

I really simply do not understand, and I never will.. It upsets me every time I read such an account (although I'm sure I hide it well)...

Oh, sorry - got to go... time for my blood pressure pill!!!



Goldielover said...

Forum drama again - and I missed it until it was all over. I'm fairly certain they were teens, and younger teens at that. Shame about the know it all attitude. I hope that gets outgrown soon for their bird's sake.

Eriisu-chan said...

But he didn't have a runny nose or ANYTHING! He only sneezed ONCE and his poop was green! I checked EVERYTHING!!


Sorry... I had to. I hate it when people do that too. Especially when it's because "They get along SO well!" *eye roll*

Arlene said...

Too much can never be said about quarantining.
There is and always will be those that think it won't happen to them. Some have excuses and some don't. It's hard to lose a new bird from an illness, but I wish they can realize how it would feel losing a bird that was their friend for x amount of years from an illness that could have been prevented; and knowing that it was their fault

Lorac said...

What do you do if your bird needs to be boarded for a time? No quarantine at boarding places. I can choose a boarding facility that requires a recent vet check, and the same if introducing a new bird member (must have a recent vet check). Also, we take birds to a vet where there are certainly sick birds present or recently present. Examining rooms aren't sterile. Surfaces can be wiped down, but diseases spread by aerosol may still be present. I'm interested in your response.

Robin Cherkas said...

I am fortunate, Lorac, to have a vet that offers boarding in a separate facility from where birds are examined. However, it is not my choice to board my birds. I would either take them to a friend or relatives house, or have someone come to my house once a day to take care of them.

For when we take our birds to vets and they may pick up diseases, this is always a risk. Same for humans when we go to a doctor or hospital. I do hope that through adequate husbandry practices my birds have an excellent immune system, but there are never guarantees. I do not take my birds to vets (or pet stores even worse) for routine grooming such as nails. Anything like that I do myself if need be. I know that I and my vet take as much precaution as possible for not spreading disease, and the same is true for quarantine. It is a precaution that is not 100%. We could quarantine a bird for 45 days, and on the 46th day introduce it, and then it shows symptoms of illness. So it is never 100%. However, failure to take any precautions at all severely jeopardizes our flock and us. So we just do our very best to provide a healthy environment, food, etc. and take all precautions in the same manner that we do not allow our kids to play with the neighbors if they are sick with a cold, flu, etc. For me, it is about minimizing the risks best we can, as opposed to being able to 100% eradicate all risk.

Post a Comment