Practical - Index > Companion Animals > Pet Care > Parrots > Illnesses


When humans are ill, it seems our nature to let others know. When our feathered friends get sick, their natural instinct is to hide the fact. Predators in the wild quickly pick up signs of weakness. Evidence of sickness is cautiously concealed until the bird is physically unable to do so. To you and me, an illness which has been festering for days, weeks, or even months seems to suddenly appear. Often, by this time, it is too late.

Responsible bird owners need to educate themselves on how to recognize signs of trouble. Most symptoms of illness which birds display can already be classified as acute (usually during the first few days of illness) or chronic (the bird has been sick for 5 days or more). Very early signs of illness in a bird are very subtle and difficult to detect.

If any of the following symptoms are noticed in your pet bird, it is time for a visit to a veterinarian with avian experience:

1.Squinting appearance to the eye instead of full eye ring

2. Constant shaking or vibrating as if shivering to the bone

3. Abnormal respiration or sounding likes breathing through a straw, or clicking

4. Tail bobbing as if having trouble breathing

5. Trouble perching

6. Reluctance to feed or change in feeding habits

7. Drinking more water than usual

8. Discharge from nostrils

9. Weight loss (know your bird's normal weight)

10. Inactivity or no preening activity

11. Eyes closed most of the time or sleeping at unusual times

12. Unusual aggression or behavior changes (such as vocalization stops or

Unusual tameness in a usually aggressive bird)

13. Frequent sneezing

14. Color change of feet or beak

15. Unusual screaming or vocalization

16. Vent soiled or pasted with droppings

17. Bleeding anywhere

18. Visual protrusion from vent

19. Feathers lost in unusual amounts or lost and not replaced

20. Swelling anywhere on bird

21. Self mutilation of feathers or body

22. Regression to infantile behavior

23. Bird preferring to be on bottom of cage

24. Excessive or too long molt

25. Stress marks or dark barring on feathers or change in feather color

26. Unusual smell on bird

27. Frequent flicking of the head or head movements such as twitching

28. Running around in a circle with head to one side

29. Discolored or runny droppings - decrease or increase in number of droppings

30 any change on beak

31. Lameness

32 Bird stretched out supporting self-hanging on cage side

33. Debris in mouth

34. Sitting constantly fluffed (not to be confused with periodically fluffing out)

Remember that you are in the best position to recognize changes in your pet!

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