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COVID-19 | CORONAVIRUS: Should We Be Worried About Our Birds?

March 12, 2020

COVID-19 | CORONAVIRUS: Should We Be Worried About Our Birds?

What is TheBestBirdFood.com doing to protect our volunteers, our sanctuary residents, and YOUR home and pets?

We wash our hands with soap and water many, many times a day. This is the usual protocol for us in our facility. We wear masks when we are producing your flock's food. We wear gloves as we produce your flock's food. All equipment is cleaned before and after the production of any batch of food with soap and hot water then sprayed with food grade 3% H2O2 and allowed to air dry. All fresh foods are kept in refrigerators until we use them. Produce is washed in food grade 3% H2O2 and then allowed to air dry before we use it.

As always we never, never, never allow any shipped order to re-enter our facility if the customer decides to return their order or if the order doesn't find its way to the customer and is returned to us. All packages are refused by us and the carrier is told to destroy the package. (Please don't return items you purchase from us, we will not receive the package.)

Our sanctuary has always been "closed" and it will remain that way. We do not allow anyone in our production facility or our sanctuary if they have pets at home or they are ill themselves. Basically, no one is allowed in our sanctuary or facility unless they are there to work. Period.

To that end, I'm not into spreading "fear." 

Instead, I wish to help all of us educate ourselves.

Education, knowledge and the understanding of any issue can often help to relieve fears and anxieties, eradicate the issue, or at least slow it down. 

Educate yourself. Education is a precedent for prevention and healing!

Prepare and protect yourself, your family and your beloved pets!

Most of all, be confident that it is highly unlikely that you will transmit COVID-19 to your flock. I would be more concerned about any mammals such as dogs, cats, horses...this virus is believed to be "mammal-based" not "avian-based." Even transmission to other species of mammals is unlikely, however, so please don't panic.

Most of this article will be links you can use to read up on COVID-19 so you can make your own decisions about how to handle this global pandemic. I will give some of my own opinions and suggestions but know that I do not claim to be an authority on this particular subject.

What are "Coronaviruses?" https://www.livescience.com/what-are-coronaviruses.html

Let's all ponder just where this new virus originated. What are the societal norms for that region? Simply stated, "work, work, work," very little rest; very large population - packed into small quarters; "advanced economy, but low health standards." This region is also very big on animal trading. (Let me just say that "the originating region" has nothing to do with this indigenous culture and people living in the USA. - this may be a time of "social distancing," but that doesn't mean any of us should be alienating certain races who are USA citizens.) These are only a few of the "qualities" in the originating region that may give us a clue into how to prevent and eradicate COVID-19 from our own lives and society. 

The antithesis to the above is: Take more time off work to rest and relax. Don't go to work, or anywhere in public if you suspect you are ill in any way, or even if you are generally healthy, but you have a compromised immune system. Try to self-contain even if you are not ill. "Self-distancing" from the public can only help all of us at this time. Take preventative health measures such as drinking lots and lots of water, eating super healthy foods (organic, raw produce), take high doses of Vitamin C with bioflavonoids. I prefer Liposomal Vitamin C or Ester C. I personally take 50-100mg per kilogram (2.2#) of my body weight.

Vitamin C is also important for our birds. Yeah, yeah I know "birds synthesize their own Vitamin C." - Well, let's consider this...a lot of the original bird DNA has evolved due to removing the species from the wild and domesticating them. Therefore, my opinion is and has always been that we need to feed our birds foods high in Vitamin C to make up for the DNA that was artificially changed by domestication. (We suggest feeding our "Citrus Mix" during this time to supply natural, bioavailable Vitamin C to your flock)

Feeding our pets a healthier diet than we normally do (remove all highly processed foods) we may help our birds ward off the stress they may pick up from us as we all navigate the high amount of fear and anxiety that they may sense in us during this health crisis.

Where did Coronavirus originate? While still largely unknown, there are references to both bats (more strains of coronavirus in bats than any other animal) and other mammals such as pangolins, one of the most trafficked animals. (https://www.kgw.com/article/news/health/coronavirus/did-covid-19-start-in-bats-how-did-it-transfer-to-humans-answering-your-coronavirus-questions/283-a9b29735-c25e-402d-98c2-be2171dc3f3ahttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DqC3ieJJlFM)

Birds are not of the class of "mammals;" they are of the class of "aves." An entirely different class than humans. Mutations of viruses normally do not occur from humans to birds, but they can mutate from birds to humans more frequently.

Thus far mutations of this virus seem to be increasing in number. Most of us are fairly familiar with what we know as "avian influenza" and "bird flu" which can be transmitted to humans. The new human mutation, known as "Covid-19"  is not believed to originate in birds. But it is likely it originated and mutated from other mammals than humans, such as bats or pangolins, or a mutation that came from a mutation of the two viruses that "married" each other possibly mutating and creating COVID-19. It is common for viruses to mutate for their own survival.

Having said all of the above, researchers have hypothesized that the same treatment used for birds to combat coronaviruses may also be useful in combatting coronaviruses in humans. While it is highly unlikely that COVID-19 can be transmitted to our birds, the pathway of the virus is very similar in both humans and birds. https://www.biospectrumasia.com/news/26/15537/israeli-researchers-announce-successful-coronavirus-treatment-in-birds.html

Avian Influenza: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/avianflu/avian-flu-summary.htm;  http://www.virology.ws/2009/04/08/reverse-zoonoses-human-viruses-that-infect-other-animals/ 

...and in humans: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/avianflu/avian-flu-summary.htm.

Coronavirus types: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/types.html

Other diseases transmitted from animals to humans: https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/animal/zoo/index.html

With photos: https://www.nadis.org.uk/disease-a-z/game-birds/coronavirus/

Irrational Fear?https://www.statnews.com/2020/01/27/bird-flu-sars-china-coronavirus-is-history-repeating-itself/

Pathogenesis: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17278385

H5N1 BIRD FLU OUTBREAK IN CHINA RIGHT NOW: I would be more concerned about our flocks and the current "bird flu" outbreak in China, originating in poultry: https://www.businessinsider.com/h5n1-deadly-bird-flu-emerged-near-center-coronavirus-outbreak-2020-2 Chickens are "Galliformes" and parrots are "Psittaciformes," but both belong to the class known as "Aves."  a -With all of the trading between USA and China, the fact that many USA poultry processors are now using China to process poultry raised in the USA, and the very, very high volume of animal trading in China, yes I would be more concerned about this in regards to our beloved feathered friends. No need to panic, just take precautions when intermingling in the avian community and allowing others into your bird room if they also have birds or they have contracted the human mutation of "bird flu." Remember, humans can contract this type of flu and the mortality rate is about 60% in humans.

Suggestions to help prevent, ward off and slow down CoronaVirus:

  1. Get lots and lots of rest. Ensure that your flock is roosting earlier and waking later. Watch the vid about the benefits of "Power napping." - https://www.cbsnews.com/video/naps-help-reduce-stress-and-boost-immune-system-study-finds/ In our Providence Exotic Bird Sanctuary all of our residents are getting about 3-4 more hours of sleep during the day while this virus is active. Not because we are worried that we may infect our flock, but instead in case they feel our own stress over the global pandemic and the added concern over the global economy. Overly-stressed pets can become ill in other ways than coronavirus.
  2. Drink lots of water, but also add liquid minerals to your water to keep your electrolytes up. Drinking green tea is also great! It is filled with antioxidants that help destroy free radicals. (I only suggest green tea for birds IF they are already ill and their diet is being supplemented with Vitamin B12 to ensure the least amount of loss of this vitamin. Actual tea leaves are very high in alkaloids which can deplete Vitamin B12 and iron from our birds' systems.) Stay away from drinking sugary and alcoholic drinks.
  3. Eat super healthy meals. This means less sugar, less highly processed (grain-filled) food. Consume a lot of greens. If you eat meat, buy the best - organic and/or grass-fed (higher in Omega 3). Eat organic and raw food for the best nutrition during this time.  
  4. Wash your hands up to your elbows for at least 20 seconds using plain old soap and water. (Hand sanitizers harm our environment and make us more susceptible to pathogens because they destroy our natural immunity.) https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/when-how-handwashing.html
  5. Keep hands away from faces.
  6. Consume higher levels of all (good idea for your flock too): Vitamin A, Beta Carotene (pre-cursor to vita A), Vitamin D, Vitamin C with bioflavonoids, Magnesium, Zinc & Selenium. (Take vitamins in the a.m. for energy production, and minerals in the p.m. for more restful sleep)
  7. Use homeopathy as a natural method to potentially help prevent the virus:
  • Phosphorus
  • Arsenic
  • Influenzinum
  • Eupatorium
  • Gelsemium
  • Rhus tox
  • Belladonna

     6. Use organic essential oils as a natural method to potentially help prevent the virus: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S016817021000016X and for respiratory health: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321199#10-best-essential-oils-for-coughs

  • Lemon - potential prevention
  • Lime - potential prevention
  • Orange - potential prevention
  • Frankincense or Sacred Frankincense - potential prevention & respiratory aid. 

     7. Elderberries and elderberry syrup/extract (pure, organic wo/added sugar) can help boost the immune system. 

     8. Adaptogens can help reduce and/or mitigate bodily and systemic stress: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3991026/ and there certain adaptogens to use: https://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Article/2018/01/17/Confusion-abounds-for-adaptogens-says-expert

Chat with your trusted PCP for you and your family, chat with your pet's trusted veterinarian, your essential oil provider, and your homeopathy provider. 

For up-to-date information from CDC (Center of Disease Control): https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html

Additional Scientific Articles about "coronaviridae:" https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/coronaviridae

From our AVBP veterinarian:

"Dear Clients, 

With the rapid spread of both news and COVID-19 disease from the SARS-CoV-2 virus, it’s hard to know where to turn for information. Many of you are as concerned about your pets as you are about your human family. We know how you feel! You want the facts to help keep your whole family – furry, feathered, scaly, or human – safe.

What do you need to know? 
First off, it’s early days in both the outbreak and in our knowledge of the virus. Recommendations may change as our understanding of the virus and associated disease changes, so be sure to check with us and/or monitor the shared sources at the bottom of this newsletter regularly for new information. We do know that COVID-19 is a disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, a newly recognized member of the coronavirus family that appears to primarily infect humans.

Other coronaviruses are responsible for things like colds in humans. However, each member of a viral family is as different from each other as you are from your Great-Uncle Louis.

This particular coronavirus is spreading rapidly because humans don’t yet have immunity built up in our populations. This is why staying home as much as possible, disinfecting surfaces, and washing your hands are important to slow the spread of the virus throughout our community.

Can I get SARS-CoV-2 from my dog or cat?
As of now, there’s little indication that dogs or cats are likely to carry or transmit the virus to humans; however there is the rare chance this can happen. The biggest concern right now is pets acting as fomites -- a virus-contaminated surface.  

So, for now, avoid snuggling your pets with your face and as always, wash your hands after handling or picking up after your pet.

Can my dog or cat get SARS-CoV-2 from a person?

Possibly. There has been at least one case where a dog tested positive for the virus after being exposed to an infected human.  However, human-to-pet transmission seems to be quite rare.

Can my veterinarian test my pet for SARS-CoV-2?
Probably not, and it’s probably not necessary.  Right now, in many countries, there aren’t enough resources to test all humans showing symptoms.  If your pet has a cough, a fever, or is otherwise ill, there are many other things that are far more likely to be causing those signs.

My pet has an appointment, but I’m not feeling well.
If you or anyone in your household is running a fever or showing other signs of illness, please stay home and take care of yourself. We’d be happy to reschedule your appointment.

Where can I learn more?
This article on Veterinary Partner has compiled a list of frequently updated and reliable resources on COVID-19 as well as the answers to some frequently asked questions:
Veterinary Partner COVID-19 Article

The AVMA has created an informative web page covering general issues COVID-19 as it pertains to humans and pets: 
AVMA COVID-19 Info

The Worms and Germs Blog is providing frequent reports on this issue: 
Worms and Germs Blog

The CDC website is a resource for human-specific info:
CDC COVID-19 Info

And also has a FAQ section specific to pets: 
CDC Coronavirus and Pets FAQ
 
As with so many things in life, exercising common sense and some extra care, plus lots of hand washing and sanitizing, will benefit us all. Please let us know if you have COVID-19 questions specific to your pet. 

Hillary G. Frank, DVM, Dipl. ABVP (Avian)"

We will be updating this post as new, reliable information presents itself.

Please forgive me if there are misspellings and grammatical errors in this article. We are SUPER busy with production and my time is very limited. Thank you!

© 3.12.20 Passion Tree House LLC - Machelle Pacion - TheBestBirdFood.com

Updated 3.22.20

 




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