Avian Gastric Yeast


Dr. David Phalen of Texas A&M University made a groundbreaking presentation on his study with the organism known as megabacteria at the Association of Avian Veterinarians’ 2000 congress. This presentation includes the most recent and up-to-date information about this organism. Texas A&M University is the country’s sole avian research centre that works with megabacteria. The International Parrotlet Society recently collected over $3,000 to support Dr. Phalen’s research with this creature.

There has been a lot of disinformation talked and published about megabacteria for years. Until recently, no one understood what megabacteria was other than that it is a creature. Megabacteria is a bacterium that has been present for a long time and is found in many wild bird populations.

Is it a pathogen responsible for disease? Is it a microbe? Is it a fungus? Nobody knew for certain. Many laypeople believed they understood the answers, but as academics and veterinarians have shown, the majority of the published information is proving to be incorrect.

Megabacteria is a gigantic creature that Dr. Phalen has recognised as a fungus. (It has always been described as a bacterium). Dr. Phalen’s group is the only one who has successfully cultivated the fungus outside of the body. The Proventricular isthmus contains it. A number of well-known veterinarians disagree on whether it is pathogenic or not. It might possibly only cause sickness when the bird is stressed. Bio-molecular research has proven inconclusive.

Postmortem inspection is the best way to make a diagnosis in birds. Fecal examination might provide incorrect findings. Amphotericin-B, a problematic medication that is no longer produced, is the standard therapy (it can be purchased from pharmaceutical compounders by prescription). Dr. Darrel Styles, a research veterinarian at Texas A&M, suggests treating with Amphotericin-B with care because of its high toxicity. It is also recommended that a direct stain on faeces for protozoa be conducted. Most protozoa react well to Amphotericin-B, which might be a factor in suspected megabacteria infections. It is proposed that additional medications that have proven effective in treating protozoa be used.

As previously reported, Dr. Phalen’s team has been successful in replicating the fungus outside of the body. This enables them to develop novel therapy methods. This involves using less harmful and more widely accessible antifungal drugs.

Dr. Styles emphasised that no one has the ultimate solution to megabacteria at this moment, but we are learning rapidly. We must keep raising cash for this study. He also strongly advised against using “Internet science” and indiscriminately using Amphotericin-B; safer alternative medications should be used instead. Finally, he reminded us that appropriate husbandry, including clean facilities, adequate diet, and quarantine of new birds, is essential for having healthy, productive birds.

Dr. Brian Speer, long regarded as the veterinary specialist in treating privately owned birds for megabacteria, enthusiastically endorses this study and concurs with the first results. Dr. Speer warns, however, that many individuals have already formed opinions about this organism, and no matter what the veterinary or scientific communities show, they will continue to spread untrustworthy and false information. Don’t allow a closed mentality cloud your judgement and put your birds in danger. Learn all you can, use your common sense, and contribute to this important study.

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