On the Second Day of Christmas…
My true love sent to me….….Two Turtle Doves!
Now for most people, this would be a very generous Christmas gift. However, if a person starts to develop a dry cough, difficulty breathing, fever, chills and flu-like symptoms, this could indicate a hypersensitivity reaction to doves called Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis. Turtle doves and other indoor birds leave feather plume and droppings that contain small organic proteins. When these proteins are inhaled, they can sensitize the person leading to acute symptoms as above or chronic symptoms of gradually worsening difficulty breathing with exercise and cough. If not identified early, the disease can progress and lead to irreversible lung damage. This very unusual disease has been seen in pigeon breeders and with many other kinds of birds.
So, keep the turtle doves, but if breathing becomes an issue, see your doctor.
For more information on pigeon breeder’s disease written by Dr. Zacharisen visit: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11868922
This educational information does not take the place of your physician’s advice.