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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-21-2008, 12:51 AM Thread Starter
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A NEW CAGE AND AVIARY DISINFECTANT by Ross Bishop

A NEW CAGE AND AVIARY DISINFECTANT by Ross Bishop



Birdkeeper's are caught in a dilemma - if you disinfect aviaries and cages you put your birds at risk from chemical poisoning, or if you don't thoroughly disinfect you put your birds at risk from disease. The problem is serious. Avian veterinarians tell us that at least 75% of all bird deaths are premature and unnecessary. Seventy five percent is a huge number.


In light of soaring bird costs, growing CITES restrictions and pressure from animal rights groups that want to eliminate aviculture, any unnecessary bird loss is tragic. Diet is a part of the problem, but the biggest single contributor to poor bird health is improper cleaning and insufficient disinfection.



The best answer to date has been to haul birds out of their enclosures, scrub the habitat clean and then blast the enclosure with one of a number of nasty (and often expensive) chemicals. It is then necessary to wash everything down, and hope that there is no dangerous contamination lingering from either the pathogens or the disinfectant. The problem is that disinfectants are toxic. That is why they work. The good disinfectants are not safe to use around birds, period. (For a more comprehensive overview of the various disinfectants see the Article: "Biosafety in the Aviary".



Bleach, for example, is cheap and a good disinfectant, but it gives off chlorine and chloroform gases that will trash a bird's sensitive respiratory system, especially after repeated exposures. Bleach is also extremely corrosive to metal cages. Vanodine is OK for occasional use, but it's not terribly effective and avian vets caution that exposure over time can be toxifying. The jury is still out on Nolvasan, but the manufacturer insists that it should not be used around animals. Plus, it's expensive to use. Every other disinfectant available to us has been shown to be either outright toxic or carcinogenic. These are good disinfectants, but you should not use them around birds. Disinfectants that don't threaten bird's aren't likely do much against dangerous pathogens either, and thus the dilemma.



Commercial poultry operations have struggled with this problem for years and are now turning to a new answer. The new approach involves the use of a chemical called Stabilized Chlorine Dioxide. Chlorine dioxide is a truly remarkable substance. It is one of the fastest acting broad spectrum disinfectants, proven to destroy many bacteria and viruses that are difficult to get with other products, and yet is safe to use around sensitive creatures. It is extremely powerful, killing bacteria, viruses and fungi. It creates no harmful odors, in fact it is an excellent deodorizer.



In the industrial world, companies that for years have been forced to use bleach or other dangerous chemicals are turning to chlorine dioxide as an extremely effective and safe alternative. ClO2 is widely used in Europe in water purification systems because it doesn't have the carcinogenic properties of chlorine, which is so frequently used in the U.S. in water treatment programs and in public swimming pools. Because of this, water treatment systems in America are increasingly switching to ClO2 as a better and safer alternative.



Although chlorine dioxide has chlorine in its name, its chemistry is radically different from that of chlorine itself. Technically speaking, both chlorine and chlorine dioxide are oxidizing agents. But, because of their fundamentally different chemistries they react in distinct ways with organic compounds, and as a result generate very different by-products. Without going into a technical explanation, chlorine tends to react with organic matter by attacking cell walls and creating by-products, some of which are toxic and carcinogenic; where chlorine dioxide does not affect cell walls (which is why it is safe to use around living things). Chlorine dioxide disassembles the ring bonds of organic compounds rendering them harmless. It's this difference that explains the superior performance of chlorine dioxide.



Traditionally, in poultry processing plants, chlorine bleach has been used to control infectious agents. Recently chlorine dioxide, which produces fewer chemical byproducts, was approved by the FDA as an alternative disinfectant. When compared to chlorine, chlorine dioxide consistently provided superior control over E. coli and coliforms, Campylobacter jejuni, and Salmonella typhimurium. In the March 3, 1995 issue of the Federal Register, the Food and Drug Administration announced that it was amending the food additive regulations to provide for the safe use of chlorine dioxide to control the microbial population in poultry process water.



In research conducted by the Psittacine Disease Research Group at the University of Georgia (sponsored by the International Avian Research Foundation), chlorine dioxide was shown to be the disinfectant of choice in eradicating avian Polyomavirus over the 7 leading disinfectants available to aviculturists. Avian Polyomavirus is a good benchmark pathogen to indicate chlorine dioxide's general effectiveness. Results of the study were published in the Journal of the Association of Avian Veterinarians (1993).



The only source of stabilized chlorine dioxide available to aviculturist's today is through Oxyfresh . Oxyfresh has taken chlorine dioxide to create "Oxygene" which is a stabilized form of the chemical. Oxyfresh originally made products for the dental industry as an alternative to conventional harsh and harmful disinfectants. Dent-A-Gene, Oxyfresh's disinfectant, is an EPA registered antimicrobial. (MSDA and Testing Summary is available from the company.) The antimicrobial efficacy of chlorine dioxide against bacteria, fungi, viruses and protozoa has been well demonstrated and documented. This disinfectant kills polyoma virus in 1 minute contact time at a 200 parts per million dilution. It is very safe, has an extremely low toxicity, and is not harsh to use. The use procedure is simple. The aviary or cage must be scrubbed (no disinfectant works well in the presence of organic matter or detergent). Then a prepared solution is either sprayed, mopped or wiped on - and left. That's it! No need to move birds out, no complicated preventive measures, no metal corrosion, no toxic residues. It is becoming the disinfectant of choice amongst aviculturists.



Oxyfresh makes a cleaner called Cleansing Gele' that contains chlorine dioxide. It is the easiest cleaner I have ever worked with. Spray it on, wait 5 minutes and wipe or rinse it off. The Gele' was also found to be effective as a disinfectant (5 minute contact time) by The University of Georgia's College of Veterinary Medicine. I do not have much experience with parrots, but I keep grass parakeets, and their poop is like cement! The Gele' softens the "cement" like nothing I have ever worked with.



Along with its disinfecting properties, chlorine dioxide is also a natural anti-inflamatory, making it very useful for wound treatment. Veterinarians are using a chlorine dioxide gel mixed with aloe vera to treat incisions and wounds. It's also very good as a spray for feather pickers. Stabilized chlorine dioxide mouthrinse is very good to use on neonate mouths after hand feeding to prevent leftover food from incubating gram negative bacteria and Candida.



Winged Wisdom Note: Ross Bishop raises finches, grass parakeets and softbills in New Mexico.



the article can be found here


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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-21-2008, 11:47 AM Thread Starter
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I just wanted to Add that when i was given this article i was amazed. It kills the polyoma virus in 1 minut! I will be using this to dissinfect my hand feeding siringes and dissinfecting my cages from now on.


It also brings back memories of my vet tech course in college lol.


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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-21-2008, 10:57 PM
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Let me just say that this is deceptively, dumbed-down article. If this is a subject of interest to you, do your research. Do NOT use this article as your primary source of information. It can be misleading by much of what it leaves out.

Oxyfresh came out with their Dent-A-Gene years ago. Unfortunately, it can be fairly expensive and difficult to obtain. It's not a miracle disinfectant though. Stabilized Chlorine Dioxide requires preparation, as it has to be activated shortly before use.

An important fact left out of the article is that to create the original strength Dent-A-Gene (Stabilized Chlorine Dioxide or SCD), dentist offices had to mix water with the Denta Gene, and then activate the SCD by adding citric acid (avoiding the the fumes that are generated) ...and then let it sit for 30min. THEN it was the safe SCD that was used for disinfection.

Once all this is done, it is safer and easier to use than bleach, but not more effective. For many applications, bleach is much cheaper and easier to use. If you can take your cages outside, hose them, spray on the bleach, let them soak, then rinse. Bleach can be the way to go. If you can only do them inside, then SCD could be a viable alternative.

One of the great things about bleach is that it is actually more effective in sunlight. The other thing is that bleach is cheap. For the price, it is the best disinfectant out there.


The Oxyfresh products sold for personal or pet use (such as Cleansing Gele, Pet Gel, etc.) are intended to be activated though an acidic environment. You can't be sure if the environment is adequately activating the SCD, so you can't be assured of it's effectiveness. In some instances, your animal's lives might depend on how well you disinfect. You could be taking a risk by using these products as your primary disinfectant. If, for instance, you were wanting to deal with an outbreak or prevent Polyomavirus or PBFD, the above treatments could be inadequate.

So for regular use, they might be okay. If you rarely disinfect, or if you have lots of animals, or if you are dealing with known pathogens, then you might want to make sure you use the best you can get your hands on.

Bob



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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-21-2008, 11:06 PM Thread Starter
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Alot of people i know have also used vinegar and peroxide(each in seperate bottles and then one is used then the other). though i know that peroxide cant be in direct sunlight or it loses its effectiveness.



This article was brought up when i was looking for methods of dissinfecting my siringes for handfeeding the baby.



Deffinetly not for killing pathogens like polyoma.(I hope never to have to deal with that!)



In my house things are dissinfected every day(For example food and water dishes) and regular paper changes everyday as well. the cages get a thurough scrub weekly in the bathroom(Eccept for the parrents cage since theive been sitting on eggs ive been having to spot clean and scrub here and there without bringing the cage to the bathroom so as to not disturb them. Once i take the baby for handfeeding I will be giving it a good thurough scrub.


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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-22-2008, 09:48 AM
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That's a good point. You should assess what your need is before you choose a disinfectant. You are also right that a regular discipline of cleaning and disinfecting is important, especially with babies.

If you are disinfecting baby food syringes (for healthy babies), you'd want something that would work in the presence of organic materials, wouldn't degrade or leach into the syringes, and would not be deadly to your animals.

For disinfecting cages outside, you could choose something altogether different. It might also be different from what you might use to disinfect inside.

Another thing is don't confuse cleaning with disinfecting. It's best if you make it a two step process. Clean all the dirt and organic materials before you disinfect.

Bob



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