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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 August, 2004, 09:43 GMT 10:43 UK
Couple quit cigs for pet's sake
Image of a parrot
Birds are prone to lung problems
A couple decided to stop smoking after learning their habit was killing their parrot.

Kevin Bartley, 41, and partner Sharon Wood, from Shoebury, quit smoking after their pet Jay Jay was put on a nebuliser to help him breathe.

He was so ill that they had to rush him to the vet for a series of tests and treatments costing 600 until the cause of his illness became apparent.

Five weeks later, Jay Jay is well on to the road of recovery.

They had had Jay Jay for only three days before he started getting ill.

I was thinking if I'm doing that to the animals what am I doing to the family
Kevin Bartley

Kevin said: "For the first few days he was perky. Then he got all wheezy and coughy and then he got really laboured breathing. I thought he was actually going to die he was that bad."

They rushed Jay Jay to the vets.

After countless allergy and blood tests and a course of antibiotics, the vet concluded smoking was the cause of Jay Jay's lung problems.

Jay Jay's vet Glen Cousquer said: "I see chronic respiratory problems in cats and dogs and it is especially bad for birds because of their airways. They are adapted for life at the top of trees and none of that is reproduced in the home."

He advised Kevin and Sharon to quit smoking for their own family's health as well as their parrot's.

Sick as a parrot

Kevin has been a smoker since he was a teenager. But he was determined to quit.

"I was thinking if I'm doing that to the animals what am I doing to the family," he said.

They joined an NHS stop smoking service run by their local Primary Care Trust.

"It was not as hard as I expected it would be. I have tried it before but I've never had the support of a group. You try to do it on your own and it's a lot harder," he said.

Kevin and Sharon have been ex-smokers for over a month now and both Jay Jay and the family have benefited.

"I took our girls to school three days after we stopped smoking in the house and they said 'what's that smell?' when we walked out of the house to the car and it was the grass.

"That really reaffirmed we are stopped smokers," he said.

As for Jay Jay, Kevin said: "He's quite chirpy now."




SEE ALSO:
Wild parrots settle in suburbs
06 Jul 04  |  Education
Bird-owners face pneumonia threat
14 Jun 04  |  Berkshire


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