Cleanliness is next to Birdliness
Articles and Information - Lady Gouldian Finch
Avian disease has gotten a lot of attention lately with the outbreak of exotic New Castle and the possibility of the Bird Flu coming to the U.S. later this year, creating a genuine concern among bird owners. It's difficult for a bird to spread anything to a person. However it's very easy for people to transmit bacteria to a bird.
Birds are sensitive to cleaners and disinfectants so choosing the correct way to clean and disinfect is important. It is noted by avian veterinarians that the leading cause of bird loss contributed by poor health is improper cleaning and poor cleaning.
Disinfectants have chemical properties that kill or inactivate pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, protozoa and fungi. There are many good products today that are safe for disinfecting and safe for your bird if used properly.
We will explain the differences among four different types of disinfectants & cleaners and identify why some are better than others for your birds.
Alcohols- effective against bacteria however, limited effectiveness against viruses. Not effective against fungi and algae. 70% solution required to be effective. Does not penetrate well into wooden perches, nest boxes and cages. Expensive and highly flammable.
Sodium hypochlorite - Bleach has been the age old choice but bleach, although a good disinfectant, gives off chorine and chloroform gases. This is extremely dangerous to a bird's respiratory system. In addition, bleach is corrosive to cages. If the bird comes in contact with bleach, it is toxic. Bleach is, however, readily available and is cheap. If you must use bleach, remove the bird completely out of the area. Clean; wash down with bleach, rinse and completely dry the area. Do not allow you or the bird to breathe the fumes and do not mix with any other cleaner or disinfectant. Bleach doesn't have a stable cleaning curve when organic matter is introduced, meaning, as soon as the dirty rag goes into the bucket, the next area to disinfect will not be as clean as the previous.
Chlorhexidines- (Nolvasan, Aviclens, Saniclens) A broad-spectrum disinfectant effective against gram negative & gram positive bacteria, molds, fungus, yeast & some viruses. Recommended as a skin antiseptic used as a treatment for drinking water by many people. It is not believed, however, that the manufacturers, such as Nolvasan, approve or recommend this dispensation. The advantage of Nolvasan is it does offer a low toxicity to both humans and birds. Chlorhexidines, however, kill only some viruses and has little cleaner properties. It also has limitations for many Gram-negative bacteria and is not effective against Pseudomonas nor will it kill hydrophilic viruses.
Halogenated Tertiary Amines- (European way of saying Quaternary- Enviroclens) Effective against bacteria, viruses, fungi and algae. It can be used in the presence of birds so long as no puddles are left. It does not have to be rinsed off after wards. It is inexpensive. No toxic fumes or strong smells given off. Because it has a detergent action, it may cause some skin irritation/drying after prolonged use to a very few susceptible people.
Quaternary Ammonium - products in this category can vary tremendously so make sure that you read the labels and claims carefully. Typically, quaternary formulas have a low-level toxicity and sometimes depending on the formula, they can claim a no-rinse. Be sure to read the label. Quaternary products can be an excellent choice for aviary use. Most quaternary disinfectants claim to kill Gram negative and positive bacteria, many viruses, fungi, and bacteria. They can be very cost effective. The disadvantages are that they still are an irritant and people with sensitive skin can be subjected to burns or redness.
If you chose the last on the list, Quaternary Ammonium you made the right choice. Our recommended formula, Pet Focus Avian Formula Disinfectant was specifically formulated for birds and the avian environment. Pet Focus is a Quaternary formula. It is biodegradable, kills gram negative and gram positive bacteria, many avian viruses, fungi, and other bacteria. Pet Focus is EPA approved to be effective against the Avian Influenza Virus. Pet Focus is also very economical when purchased in concentrate. It is cheaper than bleach, is non-fuming and has a pleasant citrus-apple fragrance.
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