The years a British woman spent with her pet parakeet 35 years ago has led to a debilitating respiratory disease.
Carol Dawson, 58, was diagnosed with allergic alveolitis, also known as bird fancier’s lung, which has left her hooked up to oxygen 24 hours a day, the Daily Mail reported Wednesday.
Dawson grew up with parakeets and kept one up until 1973 when she was forced to give up her bird “Ricky” due to breathing problems.
“At first I just thought it was asthma because it runs in the family,” she told the Mail. “I went to the doctor's time after time and they gave me inhalers. But they didn't work.”
She was finally diagnosed with allergic alveolitis in 2000.
The condition, caused by inhaling spores in bird droppings, is generally not serious, but in rare cases can lead to severe respiratory problems.
“Bird fancier's lung is a progressive disease that causes irreparable damage unless it is caught in early stages,” Dr. Jas Palmer, consultant transplant physician at Papworth Hospital, Cambridgeshire told the Mail.