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Discussion Starter #1
Here is my story (a long story cut short) posted as a warning to others!

About 2 years ago I started to get very short of breath,
this became progressively worse and at times disabling.
I decided I must stop smoking and finally managed it.
but my symptoms became much worse and I could hardly climb the stairs
I went to my Doctor who game me steroids and refered me to a consultant at the chest clinic.
Where I underwent Xray. CT scan,lung function tests and blood tests
after collating all the information I was told my avian antibodies were sky high I was diagnosed with Bird Fanciers Lung and put on high dose steroids and told if I didn't get rid of my birds my life expectancy was 5 years!!

So completely heart broken I had to clear out all my birds (My life long hobby since I was 10 -39 years ago)
most went to auction but a friend said she would take the portuguese tumblers.although she had never kept pigeons before.
I gave away nest bowls feeders and drinkers and burnt all the perches
Over 9 months my symptoms improved and I was weaned off the steroids
and continued to have regular lung function tests but still had bouts of breathlessness.
In fact about 3 months ago after another bad 'do' I rang the clinic and got a cancellation and saw another consultant.
Who said he had been "reading my notes with great interest" and said he had to DISAGREE with my diagnoses!! stating my CT scan result was "inconsistent" with bird fanciers lung!!!!!!

and after taking another detailed history thinks I have asthma!!! which may or may not be directly attributed to the birds!
He also stated "it is very easy to kid yourself into thinking you have got the right diagnosis and carry on down that track ignoring other signs"

He prescribed me steroid inhalers and I have to check and record my 'peak flow' twice daily and see him again in 6 weeks
OK now for the test
2 weeks ago I built some perches set up the loft and bought 10 english print tipplers> Are my symptoms worse? NO!
in fact they are continuing to steadily improve!
Although I am of course very pleased that I am not so likely to drop dead in 5 years I am also VERY angry at having to get rid of my birds in the first place
Pedigrees stretching back 20 years and folders packed with notes on bird treatments which I burn't becouse I couldn't stand to have them in the house. All gone not to mention the new loft costing in excess of £5,000
If I still continue to improve My friend said I could have the adult portuguese back (but she wants to keep the babies becouse she is now 'hooked' on pigeons LOL) so that is something and I am so glad she took them.
Even though I will be taking precautions - the loft is now much more 'open'
and I have a fan in the roof of each compartment to improve ventilation also the central corridor has perspex shields between me and the birds and is supplied with fresh air directly from outside via another fan (all 12 volt 4" computer fans so perfectly safe and very effective)
Other points which the first doctor dismissed, are
1/ I started using anti coccidial floor dressing about the time my symptons
started and it caused a lot of dust (now only use kiln dried sand)
2/ we moved house 6 months earlier and this house was very damp but the situation has been slowly improving as work has been done to rectify it.
3/ Not long after I got rid of the birds, I moved a sheet of wood and a lot of feather bloom blew in my face. I can remember thinking well, I will have another bad 'do' tonight, but I didn't
Anyway I see the consultant again in 2 weeks so will take it from there
Birdguy
 

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Thank you for sharing your experience, that is very good information to know especially since our birds lives and care are in our hands. A couple years ago I had a similar experience (not as severe as yours), but I had a very bad cough(choking) that would not go away and lasted weeks. I had closed up the aviary for the winter and used a different bedding (a fluffy pine). Every time I went out to feed, the cough started. I was getting very nervous, the thought of having to get rid of my birds was just horrifying. I started using a mask, changed the shavings and opened some of the plastic for better ventilation and the cough subsided - thank God.
Mine was a happier ending than yours, I'm so sorry you had to get rid of your birds. I hope you get a clean bill of health and you can keep more birds :)
 

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Thank you for sharing your story. I know it was a hearbreak for you to give up your precious birds.

I had similar issues, and my doctor told me to get rid of the birds. Instead I got a special mask and increased the size and ventilation inside the loft, as well as added an open aviary.( I also take supportive nutrition for my lungs which has helped alot). I keep the numbers down and am finding homes for some of my birds, which also reduces the dust.
 

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I am glad that you are able to keep birds again, when pigeons are an important part of your life, being forced to part with them can substantially affect your well being.But be careful...use a mask and reduce exposure.

I was told my avian antibodies were sky high
It is interesting that that wasn't the cause of your breathing problems.

I was hospitalised and diagnosed with COP, based on my CT scan and inconclusive biopsy results. After a year on steroids and a further 4 or 5 months without steroids the symptoms recurred and they decided that it must be bird fancier's lung because my avian antibodies are high. So maybe it isn't that after all. I can hope!

Like Trees, I wear a mask and have machines in the house that are supposed to incinerate antigens, or something like that.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Apparently antibodies only indicate exposure (and after nearly 40 years not surprising)
no or very low antibodies and chest problems = not PFL
High antibodies and chest problems = possibly PFL possibly Moulds,wood fibre,house mites,
copd,asthma, etc etc etc
Just thought I had a blood test at Blackpool about 10 years ago becouse of chest problems then but it was negative!!!
Feefo do hope you get better soon and its not your birds
they say you should go on a holiday away from them (and any dust that will be in your house) and see if your symptoms improve. If they do and them return when you get back,then unfortunately it probably is them.
I got rid of my birds then went to spain for a week -my symptoms didn't improve but of course there were no birds for me to 'test' myself with on return so I couldn't be sure

I did ask the first consultant about limmiting exposure but his reply was "If someone is allergic to penicillin how much do you think it would take to cause anaphylaxis? A Kilo?!"
Birdguy
 

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My husband had this happen three years ago. Shortness of breath, wheezing, low-grade fevers, low oxygen saturation and high antigens to bird dander. The dr. said absolutely to get rid of the birds.
I insisted on a second opinion and the second dr. dismissed the diagnosis from the start. We still don't have a diagnosis of what was wrong then and we probably will never know, but now he is off the steroids and he is fine. High antigens do not indicate disease, it just shows exposure to birds.

I am glad you are healthy and can keep pigeons again and you will be getting some of your old birds back.

Reti
 

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I did ask the first consultant about limmiting exposure but his reply was "If someone is allergic to penicillin how much do you think it would take to cause anaphylaxis? A Kilo?!"
You see that is what confuses me. When I was in hospital the doctor, registrar or whatever said that just one tiny speck of antigen would be enough (he didn't say enough for what). But on my most recent visit I checked that out with the consultant in the context of picking up a pigeon to remove string, or walking through a flock of pigeons in town and he said no, it would be intense and prolonged exposure that caused the damage.

Reti, I am glad that it wasn't the pigeon's that caused Lee's problems.
 

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Doctors cannot afford to reveal their ignorance. Otherwise who will go to the doctor? How does it sound this, I know that something is wrong but I don’t know what, please go and see someone else!?
Sorry that you had to go through all this Bridguy and as Reti said always go for second and even third opinion with doctors.

P.S. You may try drinking Calcium tablets (Sandos Calcium) it helps with asthma, specially allergic induced one.
 

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I got terribly ill when I quit smoking after 10 years, I used to be a heavy smoker. When I quit all the gunk from my lungs started to come out slowly and I could not breathe, I thought I was going to die over night. All the medicines they gave me wore useless. It took me a year to get back to normal.
I realised you can get ill when you stop smoking because I started smoking again for 6 months and then stopped again with similar results. I truly believe that quitting smoking can make you temporarily highly unwell from my experience. There is sooooo much hysteria about people smoking out there that no one tells the truth of what happens when you actually do stop. An older and more fragile individual could even die in my situation.
 

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I Had Pain's In My Chest And It Really Hurt When I Cothed it realy hurt so i went to the hospital i had blood tests heart monitors on i even had an Xray all came back clear , but its left me with a short breath every so often , what would you say , would you say it was this ???
 

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If anyone in the UK (or anywhere else!) is worried, ask your doctor to take 10ml of your blood and send that to the British Pigeon Fanciers Medical research team.

http://www.pigeon-lung.co.uk/samples.html

This is a link to suitable masks:

http://www.pigeon-lung.co.uk/masks.html

If you have not developed sensitisation to pigeon antigen, use the masks anyway to protect youfrom developing sensitisation!

This link describes the levels of sensitisation and their effect:

http://www.pigeon-lung.co.uk/levels.html

Glyn, I also had heart monitors and x-rays etc that didn't show anything. My symptoms were diagnosed as stress and hyperventilation until I was hospitalised with pneumonia and oxygen sats that had fallen below 70% (they can't measure below that). It wasn't until the nurse said that I couldn't afford to use the energy necessary for going to the loo or eating a salad that I realised how bad things were...but I had been sharing my bedroom with pigeons for some years!

Cynthia
 
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