MiDOG technology can help diagnose your pet bird's bacterial infection.

MiDOG technology can help diagnose your pet bird’s bacterial infection.

Your pet bird may be singing a different tune if they contract Avian Chlamydiosis. Avian Chlamydiosis is an infectious bacterial disease caused by Chlamydiophila psittaci, with the highest rates of infection being found in psittacine birds such as parrots, parakeets, macaws, and cockatiels [1]. Considering an estimated 16%-81% of parrots are infected with C. psittaci, it is important for any bird owner to be aware of signs of this difficult-to-diagnose disease [2].

Avian Chlamydiosis is painful for your feathery friend and if left untreated can result in serious health complications and even death. If you suspect your bird has Chlamydiosis, bring your pet to your veterinarian as soon as possible. Avian Chlamydiosis is a zoonotic disease, meaning that it is transmissible to humans, and so confirmation of this infection may require state-mandated reporting and testing [3].

What is Avian Chlamydiosis?

Several strains of the gram-negative, intracellular C. psittaci exist, with each strain imparting differential levels of severity on different types of bird species [2]. Both symptomatic birds and asymptomatic carriers of C. psittaci can transmit the disease-causing microorganism, with intermittent shedding of the bacteria occurring through nasal and fecal excretion [4]. Notably, the bacteria are resistant to adverse environments and can remain infectious for several months [5]. While the onset of clinical symptoms after exposure to C. psittaci ranges from three days to several weeks, latent infections are also common, with disease presentation not occurring until years after exposure in some cases [5]. Classification of Chlamydiosis can either be asymptomatic or symptomatic, with sub-classification of symptomatic presentations being acute, subacute, or chronic [2].

Clinical presentation of Chlamydiosis is influenced by bird species, the virulence of strain, infection load, stress, age, and treatment type [4]. While Chlamydiosis infections may be in latent stages or asymptomatic, it is important to know the clinical presentation of the disease when symptoms arise. Symptoms include but are not limited to:

  • Lethargy
  • Anorexia
  • Ruffled feathers
  • Serous or mucopurulent ocular or nasal discharge
  • Diarrhea
  • Excretion of green/yellow urates
  • Dark green excrement
  • Dehydration

Avian Chlamydiosis: Hahn's Macaw Parrot With Avian Chlamydiosis

Hahn’s macaw parrot with over grown beak and feather destructive behavior on chest. Visible symptoms of active psittacosis also known as parrot flu and chlamydia, due to infection in the liver.

How to Prevent Avian Chlamydiosis

The CDC recommends several measures in order to prevent the transmission of C. psittaci between birds:

  • Do not purchase/sell birds that exhibit signs of Avian Chlamydiosis
  • Quarantine any new bird 30-45 days, and test or prophylactically treat them before adding them to a group.
  • Test birds for Avian Chlamydia before they are to be boarded or sold on consignment, and house them in a room separate from other birds.
  • Practice preventative husbandry (proper cage positioning, daily cage cleaning, proper ventilation, etc.)
  • Prevent infection (isolate suspected infected bird, disinfect the cage, reduce contamination, etc.)
  • Regularly disinfect cage

Considering the possible asymptomatic nature of this disease, regular veterinary visits are recommended as well [4].

Treatment of Avian Chlamydiosis

Your veterinarian will test your feathery friend to determine the strain of bacteria causing your pet’s infection. Doxycycline medication is most commonly used for treating Chlamydiosis infections, and your veterinarian will determine the duration of treatment along with possible dietary supplements to aid in your bird’s recovery [5]. Additionally, your veterinarian can help you identify possible lifestyle changes you and your bird can make to improve their quality of life and lessen the risk of recurrent infections. This entails understanding the exact pathogen that is impacting your bird, with modern technological advances allowing for more targeted clinical diagnostic interventions.

Diagnosis of Avian Chlamydiosis

Diagnosis of Avian Chlamydiosis is particularly complex, largely due to the absence of clinical presentation in many cases. Antibody tests are limited in diagnostic settings, as positive serologic tests do not necessarily indicate an active infection. Conversely, birds with acute Avian Chlamydiosis may not have produced strong enough antibody responses yet to register a positive result, ultimately leaving antibody tests to be an insufficient indicator of C. psittaci infection [4]. Moreover, antigen tests also commonly produce false-negatives for C. psittaci, and so contemporary veterinary diagnostics has increasingly used Next-Gen Sequencing (NGS) as the gold standard for Avian Chlamydiosis clinical diagnostics [5]. NGS sequencing is especially useful in subclinical presentation of Chlamydiosis.

Next-Gen Sequencing (NGS) has increasingly helped researchers and veterinarians characterize avian microbiota [6]. A recent study aimed to detect the presence and characterize C. psittaci using NGS techniques in captive birds of Costa Rica and went on to reaffirm the importance of NGS approaches in avian diagnostics [2]. This research indicates the clinical applicability of using genomic sequencing to identify, analyze, and eventually treat birds more effectively [2].

Despite its name, the MiDOG All-in-One Microbial Test may provide the answer to the diagnostic conundrum that Avian Chlamydiosis poses on your feathery friend. Utilizing NGS technology to detect and quantify all microbial DNA through untargeted and comprehensive sequencing and quantitative comparisons to reference databases, the MiDOG NGS technology provides a useful opportunity to shed light on the microbial makeup of your bird’s infection for clinical application [7]. The MiDOG microbiome test is a microbial identification test grounded on scientific research that provides veterinarians DNA evidence for the guided treatment of bird infections, such as Chlamydiosis.

MiDOG technology can help diagnose your bird's bacterial and fungal infections.

MiDOG technology can help diagnose your bird’s bacterial and fungal infections.

Find out if your vet uses MiDOG before you book your next appointment!


[1] Balsamo, G., Maxted, A. M., Midla, J. W., Murphy, J. M., Wohrle, R., Edling, T. M., . . . Tully, T. N. (2017). Compendium of measures to CONTROLCHLAMYDIA Psittaciinfection among humans (PSITTACOSIS) and pet Birds (Avian Chlamydiosis). Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery, 31(3), 262-282. doi:10.1647/217-265

[2] Sheleby-Elías, J., Solórzano-Morales, Á, Romero-Zuñiga, J. J., & Dolz, G. (2013). Molecular detection and Genotyping of Chlamydia PSITTACIIN Captive Psittacines from Costa Rica. Veterinary Medicine International, 2013, 1-6. doi:10.1155/2013/142962

[3] Beeckman, D., & Vanrompay, D. (2009). Zoonotic Chlamydophila Psittaci infections from a clinical perspective. Clinical Microbiology and Infection, 15(1), 11-17. doi:10.1111/j.1469-0691.2008.02669.x

[4] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Compendium of measures to control Chlamydia psittaci infection among humans (psittacosis) and pet birds (avian chlamydiosis), 1998. MMWR 1998;47(No. RR-10):[inclusive page numbers].

[5] Hoppes, S. M. (n.d.). Bacterial diseases of pet birds – exotic and laboratory animals. Retrieved March 08, 2021, from https://www.merckvetmanual.com/exotic-and-laboratory-animals/pet-birds/bacterial-diseases-of-pet-birds

[6] Beckmann, K. M., Borel, N., Pocknell, A. M., Dagleish, M. P., Sachse, K., John, S. K., . . . Lawson, B. (2014). Chlamydiosis in British GARDEN BIRDS (2005–2011): Retrospective diagnosis and chlamydia PSITTACI Genotype determination. EcoHealth,11(4), 544-563. doi:10.1007/s10393-014-0951-x

[7] Melgarejo, T., et al., 2021. Canine Urine Microbiome: Assessment of Bacterial and Fungal Populations in Clinically Healthy Dogs Using Next-Generation-Sequencing. Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine. IN PRESS

Categories: Birds/Parrots, Exotic Pets, Next-Gen DNA Sequencing Technology, Skin Health

animal diagnostics

Validated by Veterinarians

“Clients expect their veterinarians to stay up to date on all matters that affect the health and well being of their non-human family members. The current technique that we have used to determine the presence and antibiotic sensitivity of organisms causing disease in our pets is over a century old.

With the emergence of dangerous antibacterial resistance, it is critical that veterinarians are able to offer laser focused diagnostics and treatment. MiDog enables us to offer care that exceeds the typical standard of care.”

Bernadine Cruz, DVM, Laguna Hills Animal Hospital Laguna Woods, CA

“I love the absolute abundance and comparing the fungal with bacterial infection. I do not worry as much about getting a false negative urinary infection reading as I do with traditional urine cultures. Several times the same urine would culture negative but MiDOG would detect pathogens.”

Michael Morgan, DVMQuail Animal Hospital, Tustin, CA

“The MiDOG All-in-One Test is amazing, I would use it instead of culture and sensitivity.  Such rapid and detailed results, I will reach for MiDOG before culture next time!

Thank you very much MiDOG, for sharing the opportunity to try your technology.”

Martha Smith-Blackmore, DVM, President of Forensic Veterinary Investigations, LLC – Boston, MA

The MiDOG All-in-One Microbial Test is our new gold standard of pathogen identification. The results are so accurate and valuable – especially with assessing both bacterial and fungal infections with the same sample.

Thank you MiDOG!”

Kathy Wentworth, DVM, Diplomate ABVP Canine and Feline Practice – PetPoint Medical Center, Irvine, CA

“The MiDOG staff was extremely helpful and supportive.”

Cathy Curtis, DVM – London, UK

“I have had great results using the MiDOG® Test. Compared to traditional culture tests, I am better able to target the treatment for dogs because the MiDOG® Test is so sensitive that it identifies all pathogens including bacteria and fungi, as well as antibiotic sensitivity.

The cost and turnaround time are about the same as a culture test, but I get much more data. The test has great performance and I believe the NGS technology will be a game changer for veterinarians treating dogs with lesions or other infections.”

Michael Kavanagh, DVM, Practice owner – Saddleback Animal Hospital, Tustin, CA

“It’s helpful to have an NGS spectrum because it gives you a broader insight of what’s happening and what might be going on.”

Richard Harvey BVSc DVD DipECVD PhD FRSB FRCVS – European Specialist in Veterinary Dermatology – Head of Dermatology, Willows Veterinary Centre & Referral Service – Solihull, England UK

“I have been using MiDog for over 4 years now and exclusively as my test of choice for all cultures for 3 years.  It is so great to submit a culture and feel confident there will be a result when it comes back, especially for urine cultures.  The reports were intimidating at first because they contain so much information.  After the first few, I am now quickly able to glance over it and pick out the highlights.  I can then come back later and pour over all the details.  I have been extremely pleased with my patients’ results using the test as well.  I don’t envision ever going back to traditional culture and susceptibilities again.”

Brian M. Urmson, DVM, Columbiana Veterinary Associates

“As an exotic veterinarian, there are numerous tests we have to consider to check specific bacterial and fungal organisms based on the species. MiDOG eliminates the need for many of these separate samples and provides definitive results quickly to help us treat our patients more efficiently and effectively. The lab is wonderful to work with and has never rejected our samples- they even processed a lizard toe we amputated and determined the cause of skin infection.”

Dr. Melissa Giese, Chicago Exotics Animal Hospital

“MiDOG’s diagnostic approach offers the unique ability to identify pathogens that evade traditional culture and sensitivity testing. I have found that adding a molecular based testing approach in the form of Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) from MiDOG to my routine diagnostic cultures can be extremely helpful in the identification and diagnosis of uncommon pathogens in veterinary medicine.”

Dr. Wayne Rosenkrantz, Animal Dermatology Clinic – Tustin

“She [Dr. Krumbeck] really did a great job of making complicated concepts accessible and demonstrating the value of your services. I’m really looking forward to working with MiDOG on my research project!”

Dr. Yaicha Peters, Animal Dermatology Clinic – San Diego

“As a proud collaborator with MiDOG, I deeply appreciate their dedication to fostering partnerships between industry and veterinary experts. Their commitment to enhancing diagnostic quality for veterinarians is commendable. In my experience, their support has been invaluable, earning them a ‘Double A+, Triple Star’ rating. Their assistance has been faultless, contributing significantly to the success of my projects and studies. I eagerly anticipate our continued collaboration.”

Dr. Richard Harvey, BVSc DVD DipECVD PhD FRSB FRCVS; European Specialist in Veterinary Dermatology

“We’re seeing that, if we prescribe too many antibiotics or they’re taken too frequently, animals are developing inappropriate or pathogenic strains of bacteria. We’re also seeing that our antibiotics are just not working against them anymore… It’s a good example of why we need better diagnostic testing, like MiDOG, so that we’re selecting the correct antibiotic every time our patients have an infection.”

Dr. Alissa Rexo, DVM, CVA, DACVD, Mid-Atlantic Veterinary Dermatology

“The NGS technique as offered by MiDOG is wonderful because pathogens like Melissococcus plutonius, for example, are difficult to grow and keep alive in the laboratory. A standard laboratory cannot truly examine or even properly diagnose this pathogen in bee hives at this time. But with NGS, we can reliably diagnose it.”

Dr. Joerg Mayer, Entomologist and Microbiologist at the University of Georgia

“For me, as a clinician and as a researcher, I see the immense value in the product [the All-in-One Test]. I have had great success using MiDOG clinically, including identifying Mycoplasma in a 24 year old pigeon, a Nannizziopsis spp in a ball python from a large pet distributor, Mycoplasma and Fusobacterium necrophorum co-infection in a peacock, and to identify an abnormal gut GI in a technician’s dog that tested negative for everything else (but we were able to establish what was abnormal, and work toward fixing it).”

Dr. Jeremy Rayl – Veterinarian, Block House Creek Animal Hospital, Cedar Park, Texas