City water E. coli warning & birds... uh oh - Talk Parrots Forums

Parrot Health, Maintenance, and Safety Discuss parrot health, parrot care, parrot safety and maintenance.

 
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-23-2014, 04:08 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 8
Thanks: 1
Thanked 6 Times in 4 Posts
Rep Power: 0
 
City water E. coli warning & birds... uh oh

So this is a weird question, my city just had an E. coli warning for the water supply, and recommends boiling it before drinking. They have apparently known since Tuesday, but didn't release a warning until today.

But here's my problem... I gave my birds (linnies) a huge bath yesterday AND cleaned their cages, which means I washed all of their stuff. And they have A LOT of stuff. I washed their cages with water/Dawn and rinsed, and I soaked all of their toys in Dawn with hot water, then rinsed after scrubbing with Dawn. I'm super worried now their their entire cages are tainted. Should I be scared of that? I don't really know how bad this actually is, because the actual tolerance of E. coli is zero when they test, so ANY amount could cause a warning to be issued. My city uses open reservoirs so we had a lot of stuff in our water regularly, this is just one of those things they're required by law to inform us about. The city says "“The chance of any health problems related to this water test result is low. If any problems occur, we would expect diarrhea,”.

I'm worried I'll have to rip apart their cages again and use boiling water on everything, which would take me a good 4-5 hours to do. My boys haven't acted any differently at all, yet... in fact I'd say they're even more active and spazzy. What are everyone's thoughts?

Last edited by Carch; 05-23-2014 at 04:19 PM.
Carch is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-23-2014, 04:46 PM


 
Flapping Mama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Germany
Posts: 1,647
Thanks: 1,255
Thanked 933 Times in 718 Posts
Rep Power: 13
       
Hi Jen,
I understand that you are concerned.
E. coli in the water increases the infection pressure although there is always a certain amount of these bacterias in the colon of all warm blooded animals.
Please use only boiled water for the birds from now on, and put a spoonful of cidre vinegar into 0,2 liter of drinking water.
That reduced the concentration of E. coli in the bird's body.
Flapping Mama is offline  
post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-23-2014, 05:01 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 8
Thanks: 1
Thanked 6 Times in 4 Posts
Rep Power: 0
 
I haven't used boiled water for them in the past, just today, but I do give them apple cider vinegar on their food and in their water about once a week.
Carch is offline  
 
post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-23-2014, 05:08 PM


 
Flapping Mama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Germany
Posts: 1,647
Thanks: 1,255
Thanked 933 Times in 718 Posts
Rep Power: 13
       
I would give them cidre vinegar every day for a week now, because they used the contaminated water for a few days.
But don't use too much of it. A spoonful in a glass of drinking water is enough.
Flapping Mama is offline  
post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-23-2014, 05:12 PM


 
Kate's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Outer Sydney Australia
Age: 67
Posts: 887
Thanks: 135
Thanked 235 Times in 170 Posts
Rep Power: 36
                     
Jen I know you don't really want to hear this but I would be cleaning everything again, this time using some form of disinfectant that will kill e-coli and use only boiled water for the cleaning. And until the all clear I would only be giving my birds bottled water.

Years ago we had an outbreak of criptosporidium and giardia in our water supply. Many people got sick and I only used bottled or boiled water during that time. And it is not just a matter of boiling a jug. To kill many germs in this circumstance the water needs to boil for at least 3 minutes, not just bringing it to the boil in an automatic jug that turns off as soon as the water boils. I had to either boil water in a glass container in the microwave or in a saucepan on the stove. I bought in a large container of water from a company that supplies it for the water dispensers (you know the type that you upend into the machine and can then put a plastic cup under and get chilled water) and I had a large plastic container that is used for things like home brew which had a tap in it and stored the water in that. I wasn't going to the expense of getting one of their dispensers in for a short period of time.

I am not a cleanliness freak but I wasn't going to risk my birds during the outbreak.
Kate is offline  
post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-23-2014, 05:43 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 8
Thanks: 1
Thanked 6 Times in 4 Posts
Rep Power: 0
 
Hey Kate! Thanks a lot for the insight. I'm not so sure I agree with comparing your situation to my own, though.

E. coli is a bacteria that is naturally present in our guts, but gets disrupted if we're exposed to other strains. The two organisms you talked about are both parasites, which are very serious. If I had parasites in my water I'd be disinfecting everything right now no questions asked! Those are not things you mess with.

From all of the news articles I've been reading about my city's issue, none of them imply it's "super serious". They are just obligated under federal law to inform us that yes, we have found trace amounts of the bacteria in our reservoirs, but the odds of actually getting sick are extremely low.

I mainly asked my cage-cleaning question because I haven't experienced this issue while owning birds, so I'm not sure how to handle this. We've all been using this "contaminated" water since Tuesday, because the city had to run several tests to confirm the issue, which delayed the announcement.
I haven't seen any sign of problems with my boys, no diarrhea or lethargy or anything. I certainly haven't felt bad and I've been drinking loads of water. I just made the unfortunate choice of cleaning everything yesterday, so I'm not sure how worried I should be about their stuff

I've been reading about this stuff all afternoon, and have found a ton of resources saying that E. coli apparently doesn't live long on surfaces? Ours isn't the type that's in food outbreaks, it's much less severe than that. The strain of E. coli associate with foodborne illness is very, very serious.
Carch is offline  
post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-23-2014, 08:56 PM


 
wyrinth's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: NYC, USA
Posts: 1,058
Thanks: 1,411
Thanked 748 Times in 515 Posts
Rep Power: 12
       
Did they issue a warning not to use it for teeth brushing/ bathing? That would be more serious....but I don't think you need to worry. I think the warnings are more for people that don't have strong immunity (babies, sick people, etc) but it's recommended to used pre-boiled water for them anyway. Personally, they issue warnings about water every so often...more along the lines of "last week the water had elevated levels of blahblahblah) and I really don't understand the purpose of that. If you washed everything, I would just spray everything with vinegar and then peroxide and just wipe down--it evaporates without any residues) or if you're really worried use a 10% bleach solution (but that needs to be rinsed)

Stitch Pikachu Thor Loki

BlazeCinder Sunday

Storm Sky
wyrinth is offline  
post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-23-2014, 09:29 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 8
Thanks: 1
Thanked 6 Times in 4 Posts
Rep Power: 0
 
They did say that they recommend boiling water for brushing teeth, but that it's not required for bathing. They even said that washing your hands in the water is fine if you "dry vigorously". It's a weird announcement. Sounds more like a "we're obligated to tell you about this but it's not a big deal" sort of thing.

I think I'll try the vinegar treatment you recommended anyway, I use it to clean already so it's nothing new!
Carch is offline  
post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-24-2014, 10:00 AM



 
catalinadee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: UK
Posts: 17,637
Thanks: 1,593
Thanked 2,007 Times in 1,575 Posts
Rep Power: 99
                     
If you can get your hand on some F10 disinfectant, I recommend it for everything. I clean with it every time I clean out anyway. It destroys just about every bacteria, parasite and nasty you could possibly think of. I fell in love with the stuff when I was working at my avian vets

- Alexandrine parakeets Holly, George, Koda & - Crimson rosella Kasumi Orange winged Amazon parrot Paulie
catalinadee is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to catalinadee For This Useful Post:
evefromtexas (06-11-2014)
post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-24-2014, 12:55 PM


 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: New Jersey, USA
Posts: 462
Thanks: 133
Thanked 222 Times in 170 Posts
Rep Power: 7
   
My motto is 'better safe than sorry' so, if I were you, I would clean everything again in a bleach solution (cheap and VERY effective) and give them spring water from now on (that's what I do and not only for bacteria but also for all the stuff they add to tap water like fluoride and such)
petiteoiseau is offline  
post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-24-2014, 04:52 PM


 
Kate's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Outer Sydney Australia
Age: 67
Posts: 887
Thanks: 135
Thanked 235 Times in 170 Posts
Rep Power: 36
                     
I understand that our situation was entirely different. But while your situation might not be a huge problem for most humans, it could cause a big problem with our birds. I would much rather be safe than sorry.
Kate is offline  
post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-25-2014, 01:02 PM
 
gemini1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: SF Bay area California
Posts: 686
Thanks: 843
Thanked 420 Times in 280 Posts
Rep Power: 8
 
You used Dawn in the water to clean so I wouldn't worry. I always prefer to use bottled water for human babies til we got our own filter system for the house. Can never be too safe. It seems to take awhile for news of contamination to get out to the public.

owned by linnies: Levi, Skyler Karma, and Bindi
gemini1 is offline  
post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-26-2014, 10:58 AM


 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: New Jersey, USA
Posts: 462
Thanks: 133
Thanked 222 Times in 170 Posts
Rep Power: 7
   
Yes, soap will kill it but it needs to be exposed for a minimum of 20 seconds before rinsing and, usually, we don't leave the soap on for that long (20 seconds sounds like a very short period of time but, if you count the seconds while you just wait, it's actually long -LOL)
petiteoiseau is offline  
post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-26-2014, 02:41 PM


 
aether-drifter's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Age: 34
Posts: 328
Thanks: 202
Thanked 226 Times in 124 Posts
Rep Power: 9
   
Did you have any issues? Apparently the water is fine now. By the time they told us about it, it had apparently been contaminated for a couple of days. :\ I drank it and so did my birds. Everyone is fine though, thankfully. I did boil a bunch of water and use that for a day or so.
aether-drifter is offline  
post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-27-2014, 09:49 AM


 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: New Jersey, USA
Posts: 462
Thanks: 133
Thanked 222 Times in 170 Posts
Rep Power: 7
   
Just as an FYI, e.coli is usually fatal in small birds and it acts very quickly. A friend of mine just lost all her budgies and three of her four canaries to it. They got it from organic kale she bought directly from a farmer (she reported him and they closed him down, at least, temporarily). She washed it with only water thinking that organic was fine done this way but it's not. EVERYTHING should be washed with soap and expose to it for a period of time. I squirt soap in my hands, rub them over all the fruits and veggies (even the ones I am going to peel) and wait a few minutes before I rinse them. The leafy greens get immersed in water with soap and left there for a couple of minutes before I rinse them also. It only takes a few minutes more and it gives me peace of mind.
petiteoiseau is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to petiteoiseau For This Useful Post:
MissyBird (06-02-2014)
post #16 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-04-2014, 08:58 AM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 8
Thanks: 1
Thanked 6 Times in 4 Posts
Rep Power: 0
 
Sorry for the late update everyone, I've been busy!

After a lot of reading and emails and advice, I decided to just let it go. I did do a wipedown with vinegar, not sure how much that helped. But my reasoning was that we all outright drank the stuff for 3 days prior to the announcement, so if we were going to get sick, I felt we'd get sick from the water over any residue left on the cages.

We have all been fine. They lifted the boil alert literally the next morning. No weird symptoms in anyone, same behavior from everyone. The birds are as nutty as usual, and I haven't noticed any changes in their droppings or eating habits. It's easy to spot changes because I sit next to them for most the day!

In response to Judy and Bibi: Regarding Dawn... I soak all my toys and perches in hot water+Dawn while I clean the cage (also with Dawn), and I then scrub everything down with Dawn again and rinse. Everything gets nice and soapy, I was just worried about that rinse I gave everything afterwards. While scrubbing, everything is usually soapy for around 20 seconds, though.

Regarding Bibi's last post, I fully understand! But it's important to note that E. coli on foods is much different than what I experienced. When E. coli is found on food, it's the direct result of fecal matter being exposed to the food. This happens a lot from water runoff from cows in neighboring fields, or improper fertilization. The issue with our water supply was basically that an animal crapped in the reservoir, which is something like 49 million gallons. Anything we would have been drinking would have been massively deluded, much different than eating food that was splashed with cow water.

Not that I am downplaying E. coli! There are dozens of different strains, and the majority of them are actually harmless. I just think it's important to note the differences between E. coli from vegetables and rogue contamination in a massive water supply. Had I fed my boys some recalled vegetables, I would have rushed them to the vet. But I think we're in the clear now. If I notice any changes they will definitely be getting a doctor's visit.

Last edited by Carch; 06-04-2014 at 09:00 AM.
Carch is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to Carch For This Useful Post:
evefromtexas (06-11-2014)
post #17 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-11-2014, 03:51 PM
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Texas Panhandle
Posts: 74
Thanks: 77
Thanked 11 Times in 11 Posts
Rep Power: 6
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by catalinadee View Post
If you can get your hand on some F10 disinfectant, I recommend it for everything. I clean with it every time I clean out anyway. It destroys just about every bacteria, parasite and nasty you could possibly think of. I fell in love with the stuff when I was working at my avian vets
True, I've used F10 since 2009. I had to buy my first supply from the UK, but Amazon has began selling it recently. It's safe to be around animals and any residue is not considered harmful.

Well, I just looked. Amazon is out and can't say when it will be replaced. I did find this link, though, which seems to be here in the U.S. http://www.snakemuseum.com/reptile-c...ant-68-oz.html

I may have to order from the UK next time when I run out if the above supplier runs out.
evefromtexas is offline  
Closed Thread

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the Talk Parrots Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome