This is a story about my baby african greyparrot Tommy, who died because of PBFD.....

Friday, September 14, 2001.
Till now I didn't tell you all about my baby African greyparrot. Why?? Because I couldn't. I will explain to you why.I bought Tommy at a pet shop here in town, and this man buys his birds at It was reliable to me. Tommy is born on June 17, 2001. The first time I saw him, I fell in love with him. First to introduce him, some photo's from 4 weeks old till now:

4 weeks old  5 weeks  6 weeks  7 weeks  7 weeks

8 weeks   9 weeks  10 weeks  10 weeks  12 weeks

Before Tommy came home he was tested on PBFD at Van Haeringen (Wageningen, The Netherlands) and lucky me this test was negative, so he was PBFD-free!! After this test (that was done on July 30, 2001) Tommy came home, on Tuesday July 31. I was so excited but you can imagine that. I was hand feeding him myself. Had my vacation so I had all the time of the world for my baby. Oh yeah.. he's a boy! But after three days (!)Tommy suddenly started to regurgitate his formula. Not once, no he did that after all his feedings. So I was very worried and called dr. Hedwig van der Horst. She is a well known (parrot) vet in the Netherlands (from the Dutch parrot refuge, The first question she asked was.."is he tested on PBFD?" Yes, I told her.. he is. And (she asked further) "is he put in quarantine right after taking his blood?". No, I said. So at this time already she didn't trust it, but okay. She gave me some medicine (Baytril and Nystatine) and after a few days Tommy didn't regurgitate anymore! Wow! I a was so happy! Finally I could enjoy my little boy! But...a week ago Tommy  started loosing his wing- and tale feathers. A lot of them!! It was clear to me that this is abnormal and I became very afraid. Loosing wing- and tale feathers, regurgitating all these things points to PBFD (Psittacine beak and feather disease)!!!! So now I got worried sick!!! Again I called dr. Van der Horst and after telling my story again, she told me to immediately re-test the bird on PBFD! At that moment my world was falling apart.... I got so scared. So I took action and called a vet here in town and I could come to him that afternoon. The vet took some blood and I got with me all the feathers which fell out and he sent it to England, Avian Biotech. This is very serious, because if Tommy has PBFD I have to let him die. But it's very contagious, so I have to test all my other (7)birds on this disease!! And also - IF Tommy has this terrible disease - we have to find out WHERE IT IS COMING FROM!!

At this moment I am waiting for the test results on PBFD and Polyomavirus, it's hard.. and I am feeling very devastated. But.. I don't sit still! No! I am fighting for my little baby boy and I am making phone calls, writing my birdclub(s), talked with dr. Kik, pathologist in Utrecht (University, veterinary), famous bird vets, researchers, etc. and I sent them all photo's of Tommy's feathers, they look awful and very abnormal. I will put some of these photo's right here, sorry to let you see them, but I have to. 

here the photo's of his feathers:



You see... they look terrible. And most of the people I wrote, told me that this looks most certain like a bird with PBFD. I don't have my hopes up anymore, but I have to fight.. for Tommy. Hopefully in the beginning of next week, I know more about the test results. Keep you posted on this page!

Sunday, September 16, 2001.

Tommy isn't feeling well... I'd better say he's very ill! This morning he still was sitting in his cage, like this:

13 weeks old     
It hurts so much. You can see that he's not feeling well. I took him out of his cage and put in on my couch in some towels to keep him warm.

After talking and crying with some good friends of mine, I called dr. Hedwig van der Horst again. I put my message on her semaphone and she called back immediately. But so told me to expect the worse and that nothing can be done anymore. I'd rather let him die here with me. And of course tomorrow morning I will go to my vet as soon as possible, but another vet also told me that there was nothing he can do. All the signs are leading to the beak- and feather disease, and okay.. I don't have the blood- and feather test results yet, but he is very ill at the moment and I have to take care of him now. I put near him a hot-water bottle and gave him some water with dextrose, Hedwig told me to do.

My sweet little guy   

Now his eyes are closed constantly...Please, let God be with him....

Terrible news....

Tommy died this evening (Sunday, Sept. 16) at 11:15 PM at the age of 13 weeks....
it just isn't fair!!

Monday, September 17, 2001
Tommy died last night.. I am devastated. But I was with him the whole day.. I was there for my boy and he died peacefully. I did what I can and now I have to go on, especially for my little boy and for all the other baby parrots!! As you know the lab in England are researching his feathers, which I sent at Wednesday and they got them last Friday (the blood and feather samples from the vet are lost?????). But okay... Lucky me I also had some of Tommy's lost feathers. 
Last night I had to put him in the refrigerator, to keep him cool. Gosh.. that was so awful to do! Conny, my friend, helped me with it. Today I went to Utrecht, with Tommy, to the University of Utrecht Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. That is where Mrs. Kik works as a pathologist. She will do section on him.... so in the end of this week I hopefully have these results, too. Tomorrow in the late afternoon, I hopefully will get the test results from England. I will keep you informed on this page.

Thanx to all of you who wrote me, called me, sent me wonderful e-cards, wrote poems for Tommy, etc!! I cannot thank you all enough! I need this so much! I hope to answer you all separately, but I get too many emails right now! Hope you understand.

Tuesday, September 18, 2001
Today I was waiting for the test results from England, but I didn't hear anything. So tomorrow I 'm going to call Avian Biotech again. Keep you posted on this.

Wednesday, September 19, 2001
I got an email from England (Avian Biotech). Tommy was tested PBFD positive....! It was hard to read, but... I was expecting it. At the end of this week, beginning of next week I'll hear the results from dr. Kik. I found out, through Avian Biotech, that Tommy was ALSO positive on Polyomavirus!! My goodness.. that poor thing.....!

To see Tommy at six weeks old, right click on this image and choose "open in new location":

Very soon I will update this page, till now I wasn't up to it. (Ellen, October 3, 2001)

Now I have to do everything I can for my Tommy AND for all the other baby birds...So the most important reason why I made this page is when you buy a parrot, please, be very careful and let them ALWAYS test on "PBFD" and "Polyomavirus"!!! Keep in mind that the bird must be put in QUARANTINE!! After getting the test results, when negative, take the bird home. Or if you can put your bird in quarantine at home, that's okay too. But if you also have other birds in the house, it's always very difficult, because this disease is very contagious!!!!!!!!


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Didier Mervilde 2000/2001/2002/2003/2004
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