Recently I have had 9 of my birds die, they are finches and canaries. I sent one for testing and it has come back as having Polyomavirus. I still have 12 birds remaining and I don't know what to do now. Are they likely to have the disease, is there any treatment, can I continue breeding? Any advice you could give me would be greatly appreciated.
Just to add to this, in my job I have access to a veterinary laboratory so one of the sick birds was euthanised and sent for a full post mortem and testing. The results of which are polyomavirus. Where I live in south Australia I don't have access to a bird vet and the local vet has never heard of the virus. I am looking ofr advice on what to do with my remaining birds.
Hi I am sorry to hear that. There is a vaccine available for polyomavirus. In the case of your outbreak, this make slow down the progression of the disease and decreases the chances of mortality. Unfortunatelly, I believe the vaccine may be in backorder and you may have to contact a avian doctor that still has some vaccine available.
The disease is fast and fatal, affecting mostly young birds.
Please let me know if I can be in any help or if you have more questions.
I am so sorry to hear that.
Specifically, polyomavirus outbreaks have been linked to:1) inadequate quarantine procedures2) virus contaminated nest boxes3) virus contaminated incubators4) shipment of unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated birds to brokers or pet retailers5) mixing unvaccinated birds from numerous locations 6) exposing unvaccinated flock residents or neonates to infected birds or a contaminated environment and returning them to the aviary without quarantine.7) Free-ranging birds could potentially disseminate this virus as it has been found in wild birds.
With any outbreak, no all birds will die. Some may become resistent to the virus and become carries. Therefore, the survivors can potentially maintain the virus in the collection and affect the number of birds you will get yearly.
In this case, you will have to consider everything: cost of eliminating the remaining and value of the collection. If it is cheaper to start over, then you can do so. Just remember that you can bring the virus back into the collection from the new birds you purchase to start over. Polyomavirus vaccine is more commonly done in psittacines than passeriformes so may have difficult time finding a reputable breeder to re-stock your collection.
I did a quick sear online and it seems that the vaccine may be available. Please check this http://www.entirelypets.com/biomune.html
A good online supplier is global pigeon supply. The company tend to carry vaccines and I believe they are not just for pigeons. I did check for a polyomavirus vaccine, and they had something but I could not read the specifications. You may want to check this too.
In the case you go for vaccination, I will recommend you contact the manufacturer directly to make sure that there is enough data suggesting that the vaccine will induce protection.
Other recommended strategy is to stop all breeding during one season and resume later on