While most of us talk about our common furry friends (cats and dogs), there is another feather-y friend that is increasing in pet popularity. Keeping birds as pets have been around for a long time, with parrots and love birds as the most common pets.
The interest has now increased to having doves, cockatiels, parakeets, and macaws as pets.
With increase in pets comes the increase in vet visits. Regular vet visits can help keep a check on your pet’s health (and give you brownie points for being an amazing pet parent!). If you do have pet birds, ensure that you meet a vet that is specialised in treating birds.
As pet parents, we can also maintain our pet’s health by keeping an eye on their daily habits. Usually, a major change in their routine means that a vet visit is needed, but it could also be a one-time thing. This is where monitoring their habits becomes important.
Coming back to pet birds, in this post we discuss the most common ailments that affect our feathered friends in general. If you do notice any of the following in your pet birds, call your vet immediately.
Psittacosis (Parrot Fever):
A highly contagious disease in birds, that can be spread from birds to other animals (and at times even humans). Parrot fever is called so because it affects the birds included in the parrot family, including macaws, parakeets and cockatiels.
Symptoms of this disease to watch out for include difficulty in breathing, watery droppings, loss of appetite, any nasal and eye discharge, and fatigue.
A deadly infection that is most common among caged birds, and can be spread to other birds in the house, or even from a parent bird to its chick. Even if the birds are kept in separate cages, the infection can be spread through dander in the air and feather dust.
Symptoms include difficulty breathing, loose stools, a swollen abdomen, loss of appetite, feather abnormalities, and paralysis.
There is no treatment for this disease, instead it can be prevented by disinfecting the cages and following strict hygiene measures. A vaccination is also available for this disease.
Proventricular Dilatation Disease (PDD):
Most commonly found in Macaws, African grey parrots, and cockatoos, PDD is a disease that affects the nerves and the bird’s food tract, causing the bird’s stomach to increase in size.
Symptoms of this disease include vomiting, undigested seeds in stool, weight loss, and weakness. This list is not exhaustive and there can be a number of other symptoms displayed by the bird. Any change in their regular routine could be a sign of this disease, which is why calling a vet is that much more important. Sometimes birds do not display any symptoms, until they are very sick with the disease.
There is currently no cure for this disease. Treatment for this disease includes reducing the pain and making the bird comfortable for the rest of their lives.
A condition that solely affects female birds of breeding age. Egg bound birds have a difficult time in laying eggs as the egg would be stuck inside the bird. The bird will try to expel it from its body and may even strain itself while doing so. If an egg is not expelled within 24-48 hours in most birds, then the bird is most likely egg bound.
Other symptoms include fluffed up feathers, difficulty in passing stool and urine, straining, and excessive breathing.
Egg binding can be fatal if not treated immediately, so make sure to keep an eye on your birdies when it’s time for them to lay eggs, even without mating.
Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease (PBFD):
A highly contagious and serious condition that affects parrots, lovebirds, and cockatoos.
Symptoms of this disease include sharp feathers, bloody feathers, loss of powder down, abnormally short feathers, and feather loss. Abnormalities of the beak would also be present.
As of now, there is no treatment for PBFD, instead pain medication would be given to make the bird comfortable.
Yes, birds can be stressed out too! Environmental changes, boredom, unhappiness, illnesses can all lead to birds being stressed.
Symptoms include aggressive behaviour such as biting and screaming, picking feathers, loss of appetite, and fatigue.
Other than these diseases, birds can also be infected with parasites or bacteria, leading to fungal and bacterial infections. The symptoms are fairly common, such as vomiting, loss of appetite, fatigue, and any skin abnormalities.
While some of these diseases are fatal, most of them are curable with anti-biotics and anti-fungal medications.
Always keep an eye out for any irregularities with your pet. Something as simple as not eating well, or even eating too much can be a sign of a serious illness.
You know your pet the best, so the moment you feel that something is not right, book a veterinary consultation immediately. If you are not sure whether your pet needs a consultation yet, book an appointment for online veterinary doctor consultation right here to get an expert’s opinion.