Historiette to make you think
Coquette is a charming little green parakeet. She has been living with her human family for almost six years. As she likes them very much in their presence, she has learned many words, a question of doing like them and of speaking their language. She spends long hours chatting and playing with the children. She is truly part of the family and everyone adores her. This is why I was stunned when Vincent’s mother asked me in consultation to euthanize her parakeet. “But why is that?” I asked him. “Your parakeet is perfectly healthy.” She told me looking scared that it was because her son was sick and her doctor said it was caused by the parakeet. “Without wanting to be indiscreet, madam,
I didn’t understand anything anymore. At no time has the veterinary medical literature mentioned this problem. It was with great sadness that I saw that the panic and the bad information passed on to this lady would cost the life of an innocent parrot. I tried to find out more. “Can you explain to me what symptoms are bothering your son?” She told me that he had a pimple on his left eyelid. Because the pimple was round, raised, and resembled a donut, the doctor had no doubts about the diagnosis: Molluscum contagiosum!
It was the first time that I had heard of this disease in humans. My curiosity was piqued. I was definitely going to dig into the human medical literature to fully understand this disease. In the meantime, it was very clear to me that this condition was not related in any way to avian chlamydia. I tried in vain to explain it to the lady.
She did not give up on her decision to have her parakeet euthanized. All my attempts at deterrence failed.
I offered to keep the parakeet in boarding school, while I did a serious literature review proving that molluscum contagiosum had no connection with avian chlamydiosis. I also offered to have his parakeet tested for chlamydia. As a last resort, I offered to adopt her parrot and that if one day she changed her mind, I would gladly give it back. Nothing to do. A visceral fear having seized this lady, there was no longer any possibility of making her listen to reason.
I euthanized Coquette not without difficulty. The lady signed an autopsy and sample collection authorization to test for the alleged presence of chlamydia.
When I got home, my research confirmed what I already knew: Coquette the parakeet died for nothing. Molluscum contagiosum is a contagious dermatological condition found in humans only and mainly in children. It is caused by a virus from the Poxvirus family.
The doctor’s diagnosis was good, because the very characteristic appearance of the skin lesions allows a definite diagnosis: a button raised about 2 to 5 millimeters, pink flesh with a depression in its center. It may look like a small donut. This benign virus attacks the outer layers of the skin and spreads through direct skin-to-skin contact. Contaminated objects also serve as vehicles for contamination (examples: pool benches, towels shared in the gym or at the swimming pool, etc.). We mainly find pimples on the chest, abdomen, arms, face, eyelids, groin, buttocks.
I was very sorry that this information had not been passed on to the lady in the first place.
A few days after Coquette’s death, I received the result of the chlamydia screening which was negative. The autopsy did not reveal any anomaly whatsoever either.
I forwarded the results of my research and autopsy to Vincent’s mother. At the very least, she now understood what was going on with her son. I also asked him for the contact details of his doctor. I would have liked to discuss this new zoonosis with him …
Unfortunately, he never returned my call.
It is so easy to incriminate animals in order to explain a situation that you do not fully understand!