Birds are one of the most common animals in homes; from small species such as canaries and parakeets, to psittacids such as yacos, cockatoos and macaws. There are those who choose them for their song and their beautiful colors, which give joy to the house, and those who acquire them as another member of the family, creating incredible bonds.
Like all animals, birds also suffer from diseases that can put their health at risk; that is why it is very important to be aware of the necessary care for each species and, above all, to always keep their cage clean, as it is a great source of infection.
Unfortunately, the diseases of birds are quite difficult to detect. Normally, when a bird shows visible symptoms, it is because the disease is already very advanced and we must act quickly. Any change in behaviour, apathy or loss of feathers can be an indication that something is wrong.
What are the most common bird diseases?
It’s a bird’s disease that can kill it in as little as five days.
- Cause: Ingestion of water or food contaminated by the saliva of sick animals.
- Symptoms: Bloody diarrhoea, weight loss
- Veterinary treatment and thorough cleaning and disinfection of the cage.
- Cause: Fungus on wet or moldy seeds.
- Symptoms: Difficulty in breathing, loss of appetite, mucus, cold, lack of vitality.
- Treatment: There is no cure, so it must be prevented with clean, dry and dust-free food.
- Cause: Very humid environment or low temperatures. Dust mites.
- Symptoms: Typical of a cold; sneezing, wheezing
- Treatment: Provide heat to your bird until it recovers. If it does not improve, take it to the vet.
- Transmission: Through faeces from sick animals. Bacterial origin
- Symptoms: Diarrhea
- Prevention: Keep the cage clean and hygienic and prevent other animals from having access to it.
It is one of the most common bird diseases and can cause death in very young birds. It is also very contagious.
- Transmission: Through the faeces or saliva of sick animals. Bacterial origin.
- Symptoms: Diarrhoea, joint pain, nervous system problems, loss of feathers.
- Treatment: Antibiotic and probiotic.
Known as the sweating sickness. It is highly contagious and causes death within 4 days of infection.
- Cause: produced by bacteria as a result of dirty cage, humidity or overcrowding.
- Symptoms: Wet belly and deterioration of feathers. Yellowish or greenish liquid faeces.
- Treatment: Antibiotics; clean and disinfect the environment.
Ornithosis or Psittacosis
Severe bird disease that can be transmitted to humans. In us, it is like a cold and is not usually identified.
- Origin: Bacteria chlamydia psittaci
- Cause: Extreme lack of hygiene.
- Symptoms: Loss of appetite, diarrhoea, loss of feathers, bulging stomach, excess secretions, joint cramps, respiratory problems.
Birds shed their feathers more often than usual to regulate their temperature. This means an alteration of their natural cycle and a great physical and psychological wear that alters their behavior and health.
- Cause: Change of habitat and climate.
Stress is a physical or emotional state disorder that we can also include among the most common bird diseases.
- Cause: Birds that have not been born in captivity and are locked up in a cage. Lack of stimulation and entertainment.
- Symptoms: Excessive scratching and pecking, self-harm, discomfort, nervousness.
Lumps that usually appear under the wings, although they can come out anywhere on the body. It is common in parrots and canaries, birds with denser plumage.
- Cause: New feathers retract and do not come out.
- Treatment: Removal by surgery.
- Causes: Lack of vitamins, incomplete or unbalanced diets, poor environmental conditions.
- Symptoms: Weight loss, loss of balance, pale legs and beak.
- Treatment: High quality complete food, vitamins, natural light and fresh air.
Feather pecking or plucking
More than a bird disease, it is usually a behavioural problem, although it can also be due to parasites.
- Cause: In the case of behavioural problems this can be due to stress, boredom, loneliness, as well as in very active birds; in the case of disease, due to lack of vitamin A or internal parasites such as worms, tapeworms, candidacies and giardiasis. It can also be due to environmental causes: lack of attention, toys or hygiene, size of the cage, sleep problems, noise.
Excessive nail and beak growth
- Causes: Inadequate hangers, lack of wood or cuttlefish to file.
- Treatment: File and cut when necessary, always by a professional so as not to damage the animal.
Bird disease of viral origin.
- Symptoms: Nasal discharge, inflammation of the eyes that makes them close.
- Treatment: Disinfection of the environment. Clean nose and eyes.
- Cause: Contaminated food and water.
- Symptoms: Poor appetite, whitish or grey stools, anorexia, conjunctivitis, swollen joints.
- Antibiotic treatment.
These are some of the most common bird diseases. They are usually of viral, bacterial or fungal (fungus) origin, as well as due to lack of care and hygiene and change of habitat. A clean cage and a complete and quality feeding are enough to prevent most of the diseases that affect birds.
Don’t forget to pay special attention to the feathers, beak, eyes and skin, as well as their behaviour, to detect if your bird has any ailments. Regular check-ups with your vet are essential to monitor your bird’s health and anticipate possible illness.