Bird Fancier’s Lung: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention

What Is Bird Fancier’s Lung?

Bird Fancier’s Lung as stated is a form of allergic alveolitis, which is caused as a result of dust present in the feathers of birds. This dust is present in the feathers of birds naturally and it helps smooth movement of feathers over each other. Birds have a gland called the preen gland, which is present under the base of the bird’s tail and is spread over the feathers. This dust if inhaled can cause respiratory problems in humans. Most of the birds with good feathers have abundant amounts of this dust called as bloom.

What Is Bird Fancier's Lung?

What Are The Causes Of Bird Fancier’s Lung?

The main causative agent for Bird Fancier’s Lung is the bloom or dust that is present in the feathers of birds which when inhaled causes this disease. Most of the birds whose feathers are in good condition have lot of this bloom or dust which help to move the feathers over each other smoothly.

What Are The Symptoms Of Bird Fancier’s Lung?

Bird Fancier’s Lung causes inflammation of the alveoli. Some of the symptoms in the initial stages of the disease are shortness of breath, especially after any physical activity or with sudden temperature change. Some of the symptoms are pretty similar to that of asthma or pulmonary embolism. One of the characteristic features of Bird Fanciers Lung is that it is very tough to diagnose through normal medical tests which will reveal normal results.

Symptoms Of Bird Fancier's Lung

Some Of The Symptoms Of Bird Fancier’s Lung Are:

  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dry cough
  • Chest discomfort
  • Anorexia
  • Weight loss
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Progressive interstitial fibrosis. (In the most severe form)

How Is Bird Fancier’s Lung Diagnosed?

Usually, a blood test is conducted to look for antibodies to avian proteins suggesting Bird Fancier’s Lung. Apart from this, it can also be identified by x-rays or CT scans, which will reveal a ground glass appearance to the lungs. A spirometric test can be done for confirmatory diagnosis Bird Fancier’s Lung.

What Are The Treatments For Bird Fancier’s Lung?

The symptoms caused by Bird Fancier’s Lung improve in the absence of the avian proteins, which are responsible for this disease. Hence it is preferable to remove all bedding and pillows with birds’ feathers. If there are pets with feathers which also may have lots of dust in them need to be taken care of properly and their fur and feces present in the floor need to be removed. Steroid inhalers tend to be useful for this condition. In case if an individual finds it difficult to inhale then these inhalers in combination with medications used for protecting the bone density are also useful to prevent scarring of the lungs. The recovery of an individual from Bird fancier’s Lung depends on the extent of the disease and how early it has been diagnosed.

How Can Bird Fancier’s Lung Be Prevented?

Persistent exposure to feather dust or bloom worsens this condition; therefore, immediately staying away from birds is preferable.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:January 23, 2019

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