Proventricular Dilatation Disease

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Update on cause, diagnosis and management
by Tom Dutton BVM&S CertAVP(ZM) DipECZM(avian) MRCVS

Proventricular Dilatation Disease (PDD) is predominantly a disease of pet psittacines and is a common cause of morbidity and mortality in parrots in the UK and elsewhere. Species other than psittacines have also been affected and the role of wildlife acting at a reservoir is still being investigated. PDD is a potentially fatal neurologic disease that uniquely affects the gastrointestinal and nervous system.

Avian bornavirus (ABV) has been identified as the cause of Proventricular Dilatation Disease (PDD) in psittacines. The clinical signs relate to an immune mediated reaction to the virus. Gangliocides are produced which cause changes to the nerves which leads to disease. Many healthy birds are infected with ABV, but the development of PDD in such cases is unpredictable and not fully understood.

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