Avian Bornavirus (ABV) and Avian Ganglioneuritis (Proventricular Dilatation Disease-PDD): Caring for your Avian Bornaviral (PDD) bird

PDD PatientCaring for your Avian Bornaviral (PDD) bird

Jeannine Miesle, MA

Academic researcher in the field of avian medicine. Member of the Association of Avian Veterinarians (AAV).

The author is indebted to Dr. Robert Dahlhausen (Avian and Exotic Medical Center, Milford, OH) for his advice and support on this paper.

Full Articles:

Current Research and Advances in ABV and Avian Gangioneuritis (PDD) for Pet Owners

Current Research and Advances in ABV and Avian Ganglioneuritis (PDD) for Aviculturists and Veterinary Professionals


Recommendations for Avian Ganglioneuritis (PDD) Management / Prevention


Dietary Suggestions for PDD Patients

During am Avian Ganglioneuritis (PDD) flare, it is important to monitor the bird’s food intake very carefully, both the quality and quantity of food given and eaten. The Avian Bornavirus will always be with the bird, and Avian Gangioneuritis (PDD) flares can happen at any time. Incorrect food choices may trigger an attack.

Even birds showing only neurological signs need to be on this diet since chances are very good that they too have enlarged gastrointestinal organs. These suggestions are for during a flare; however, most birds GI signs will do better if continued on this basic diet. Consult your avian veterinarian for further advice.

Important points:

  • All foods need to be given in very small pieces and in small amounts, no matter what the size of the bird.
  • No dairy, ever, for any bird. They cannot digest lactose because of the bacteria lactobacillus which is in it. Soy or rice milk or canola oil may be substituted .
  • Avoid fried and fatty foods--for all birds.
  • Stay with a bland diet and only add other foods back in one at a time. If the bird regurgitates a food, remove that food from the diet until he’s improved and no longer regurgitating.
  • Allow time for the food to be digested before offering more; there is a danger of bacterial or fungal growth if the food remains in the crop too long.
  • Avoid hot and spicy foods.
  • Once the bird is no longer regurgitating, medicines may be placed in a soft food that you know the bird will consume. Otherwise, medications need to be given by oral syringe.

Foods to offer and avoid:

  • Fruits: apples, peaches, melon, pears, banana, applesauce. No pits, skin, no seeds, ever. Avoid fruits with seeds, such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries.
  • Vegetables: cooked peas, carrots, green beans (bean only, not pod), white potato, hand-mashed with a little rice or soy milk, yams or sweet potato, hand-mashed with a little margarine (only use the soft, inside part, not the peel or fibrous part just inside the peel).
  • Cereals: non-sugar dry cereals such as Rice, Wheat, and Corn Chex, Cheerios, wheat, rice and corn flakes. All cereals may be dampened with a little rice milk for easier digestion.
  • Pastas: rice (plain or with a little margarine), rice or wheat pasta such as spaghetti, linguini, or rotini, noodles, and couscous; any small, thin pasta is generally tolerated.
  • Greens: small pieces of lettuce (not iceberg) and light-colored celery leaves. Avoid strong, heavy, dark greens.
  • Scrambled eggs made with a little margarine. Never butter.
  • Small amounts of Nutri-berries and Avi-cakes are good, provided the bird can keep them down. Break into small pieces.
  • Grains: Toast (not plain bread), preferably using whole-grain breads. Toast lightly. Margarine or a little jelly (not jam) may be used. Waffles and pancakes may be offered in very small amounts. No syrup. A little margarine is acceptable.
  • N0 NUTS DURING A FLARE. Nuts are very hard to digest. Nothing hard and crusty. Be careful offering nuts after the flare has subsided. Many birds cannot tolerate them at all after becoming infected with Avian Bornavirus and PDD.
  • Meats: small amounts of very soft meats, such as thinly sliced roast beef,  chicken, or ham may be offered occasionally.

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Information contained on this website is provided as general reference only. For application to specific circumstances, professional advice should be sought.