Welcome to the all-new Vetlearn

  • Vetlearn is getting a new home. Starting this fall,
    Vetlearn becomes part of the NAVC VetFolio family.

    You'll have access to the entire Compendium and
    Veterinary Technician archives and get to explore
    even more ways to learn and earn CE by becoming
    a VetFolio subscriber. Subscriber benefits:
  • Over 500 hours of interactive CE Videos
  • An engaging new Community for tough cases
    and networking
  • Three years of NAVC Conference Proceedings
  • All-new articles (CE and other topics) for the entire
    healthcare team

To access Vetlearn, you must first sign in or register.


  • Registration for new subscribers will open in September 2014!
  • Watch for additional exciting news coming soon!
Become a Member

Care Guide

About Care Guides[x] These care guides are written to help your clients understand common conditions, tests, and procedures, as well as to provide basic information about pet care. They are based on the most up-to-date, documented information, recommendations, and guidelines available in the United States at the time of writing. Pharmaceutical product licensing, availability, and usage recommendations are based on US product information. Use the Download Handout button to generate a PDF for printing or e-mailing to your clients.

Polyomavirus Vaccine

    • Polyomavirus is a virus that infects caged birds, especially those younger than 5 months.
    • Signs include sudden death, loss of appetite, bleeding under the skin, and feather abnormalities.
    • Birds cannot transmit this disease to their owners.
    • The polyomavirus vaccine can help prevent the spread of this virus within an aviary (a place for keeping birds) or among birds that are exposed to birds with an unknown vaccination status.
    • Bird owners should consult their veterinarians about the risks and benefits of the vaccine.

    What Is Polyomavirus?

    Avian polyomavirus is a virus that primarily infects young, caged birds. While birds younger than 5 months are most susceptible to infection, it’s possible for adult birds to become infected as well. Older birds that are infected may survive but shed the virus in feather dander and droppings, exposing other birds to infection. Birds that are most vulnerable include:

    • Macaws
    • Budgerigars
    • Conures
    • Lovebirds
    • Eclectus parrots
    • Ring-necked parrots
    • Caciques

    What Are the Signs of Polyomavirus?

    Some infected birds may appear healthy before experiencing sudden death. Other birds may have loss of appetite, delayed crop emptying, bleeding under the skin, abdominal distention, and feather abnormalities.

    How Is Polyomavirus Diagnosed and Treated?

    Specific laboratory testing can identify polyomavirus in certain tissues and in feces. Blood tests can also detect antibodies to the virus in birds that have been exposed. These birds can serve as a source of infection for other birds.

    Besides supportive care to help relieve clinical signs, there is no effective treatment for polyomavirus infection. Young birds that become infected may die from the disease.

    What Is the Polyomavirus Vaccine?

    The polyomavirus vaccine can help prevent birds from contracting the infection. Because the disease tends to infect younger birds, it is especially important for bird breeders to vaccinate breeding adults and young birds. People buying birds from breeders or pet shops should ask for a certificate of vaccination.

    Because there are risks and benefits to any vaccine, bird owners should consult their veterinarians about the polyomavirus vaccine. Vaccination may be recommended for birds that are exposed to birds with an unknown disease status at bird shows, veterinary clinics, and pet stores.

    How Can the Disease Be Prevented?

    Owners should have new birds checked by a veterinarian before exposing other birds in the household to new birds. After handling birds at pet stores, bird owners should change their clothes and disinfect their hands before touching their own birds. Home visits from friends with unvaccinated birds should be discouraged.