In December, 2023, an owner surrendered a pair of previously unknown parrots to our shelter. The female, in perfect feather, and the male, in a rough feather state, shared a cage. The Surrender Form accompanying the parrots indicated the male had 1) been treated by a veterinarian for a fungal infection; and 2) the owner now believed the female was overpreening the male, thereby causing his current feather issues. We had no reason not to believe that was the case and, in fact, the vet visit and treatment for a fungal infection has been confirmed by a visit with the veterinarian’s office in question.

A decision was made to separate the two parrots to see if the male began new feather growth, however, upon further observation, we began to suspect there might be an additional problem and, out of an abundance of caution, we recently had the male’s blood tested independently.

We were shocked when the test result came back positive for the Avian Circovirus Disease (ACVD), a highly contagious parrot disease, also known as Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease (PBFD).  Although technical, clinical signs of ACVD include peracute- septicaemia, depression and rapid death. Acute- depression, dystrophy of the feathers and can fight off the infection or death may result normally within 1-2 weeks if a chronic form of the infection isn’t pursued. Chronic-progressive clinical signs that can range from months to years. Abnormal feather and beak growth weakened immune system and ultimately, death. After each molt feather characteristics will become worse. Beak abnormalities that can develop include elongation, fractures, palatine necrosis and oral ulceration. Other symptoms include scaling and thickening of the skin. More detailed information concerning Avian Circovirus Disease can be found online using your chosen search engine.

At CAARE, in order to minimize the possibility of contagion with our current parrot population, as well as the well-being of our customers’ beloved parrots, our own parrots, and those of our volunteers, we are committed to dealing with such issues as soon as possible. There is no other responsible approach.

We have discussed this matter with our veterinarian and done in-depth research and have found that proper shelter protocol for this type of situation is lacking. However, in an attempt to determine the extent to which this one parrot might have infected others, the shelter will be closed indefinitely and the shelter parrots quarantined. There will be no visitors other than our volunteer cleaning crew, and there will be no incoming nor outgoing parrots.

Meanwhile, testing will be undertaken on the parrots in residence, and extensive cleaning will be undertaken of the entire shelter surfaces and contents, followed up by the use of F10 SV veterinary disinfectant which is known to kill this particular virus. Once testing, cleaning, and disinfecting has been accomplished multiple times, environmental testing will be undertaken in order to determine which areas of the shelter may have been affected by this virus, if any.

We will also be working backwards to determine any parrots who may have been on-site during the timeline in question, and the board will be reaching out directly to those whose parrots may have been exposed. In addition, testing will be offered to those parrots who may have been exposed to this disease during the timeline in question.

Going forward, our avian warehouse store will be closed Wednesday, May 8th and Saturday, May 11th, as we conduct testing, cleaning, and disinfecting. Pending testing results, we may be able to re-open our store during the period the shelter remains closed to the public.

Right now, we ask for everyone’s patience as we work hard to move past this. We are anticipating updates soon and our entire team is hoping and praying we will have good news for all. Our shelter will be in great need of support throughout all of this. We are eternally grateful for our hard-working volunteers and community over the past 24 years and we hope to be able to continue our mission in helping parrots in need. 

For informational purposes, we are informed by the owner of the infected parrot that he had originally been a companion to a parrot purchased at a retail store in the Minneapolis area that obtains parrots from various sources. That young parrot subsequently died prior to the appearance of the “fungal” infection originally diagnosed in his cagemate. We strongly suggest that anyone purchasing a baby or adult parrot from breeders or stores out of the immediate area proceed with caution, as sources have told us this is not a first-time occurrence.