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Are Malassezia yeasts the reason for feather picking?
Feather picking in birds is a frustrating and common phenomenon. Since Malassezia yeasts can cause moderate to severe pruritus in several mammals, the question was raised if pruritus due to these yeasts might be the reason for feather picking in psittacines.

No studies have been established the cutaneous normal microflora in birds. So in this study, 103 psittacines (50 normal and 53 pickers) were included.

Acetate tape samples were taken from 6 sites (head, neck, proventer, propatagium, inguinal and preen gland area) in each bird, stained with modified Wright´s stain and then malassezia were counted. Additionally, a Sabouraud culture was started and PCR using primers specific for Malassezia, Candida and Saprophytes were used in macroscopic diagnosed `yeasts`.

The number of yeasts was not statistically significant between normal and picking psittacines - yeasts were found infrequently in both groups.

Source: Preziosi DE, Morris DO, johnston M, Rosenthal Kl, Rankin SC (2004): Quantitiy ands distribution of Malassezia organisms on the skin of normal and feather-picking psittacines. In: Veterinary Dermatology 15, p 204




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