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12 Common Diseases In Pet Birds: Everything You Should Know!

It's no wonder that nearly five million American families keep birds as pets, as birds make excellent pets. These feathery companions are easier to care for than their four-legged counterparts, according to many owners.

Unfortunately, birds are susceptible to a variety of health ailments, and if you're not vigilant, your bird might get very ill very fast.

We usually advise prospective pet owners to conduct study before to acquiring a new animal, and the same approach applies to bird ownership.

Understanding the diseases and ailments that might affect your pet bird makes it simpler to identify the symptoms and obtain treatment more quickly.

Continue reading "12 Common Diseases in Pet Birds: Everything You Should Know!" by BestForPets (bestforpets.org)  to discover the 12 most prevalent illnesses affecting companion birds.

The 12 Common Diseases in Pet Bird

1. Avian Polyomavirus (APV)

Avian polyomavirus causes benign feather lesions, sluggish crop emptying in weanling parrots, skin hemorrhages, and unexpected death. Budgies, Caiques, and Eclectus Parrots are among the most susceptible species to APV.

This virus is generally transmitted when an unvaccinated bird is exposed to a polyomavirus-infected bird. Feather dander and body fluids of infected birds can potentially serve as vectors of transmission.

The majority of weanling and juvenile parrots infected with this disease will die without presenting any symptoms. Yet, recovering birds may be left with aberrant feathers and will likely continue to carry the infection.

Symptoms of APV include the following:

  • Depression
  • Weight reduction
  • Regurgitation
  • Wet droppings
  • Dehydration
  • Trouble in respiration

2. Proventricular Dilation Diseases (PDD)

Proventricular dilation illness is also known as parrot wasting syndrome or macaw wasting syndrome due to its prevalence in Macaws, African Greys, and Amazon Parrots.

This neurological disorder affecting the nerve system is deadly once clinical symptoms appear. This ailment can be treated with supportive care and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines by your avian veterinarian.

Examples of PPD symptoms include:

  • Constant weight loss
  • ejection of undigested food
  • Regurgitation sVomiting
  • Swollen harvest
  • Seizures

3. Psittacosis (Parrot Fever)

Psittacosis, commonly known as parrot fever or chlamydophilosis, is a highly infectious bacterial ailment that affects companion parrots. This condition is caused by the parasite Chlamydia psittaci. This syndrome can be transferred to people from Cockatiels, Amazon Parrots, and Budgerigars.

This illness is frequently treated with an oral or injectable antibiotic.

Symptoms of Parrot Fever include the following

  • Sneezing
  • Trouble in respiration
  • Lack of capacity to fly
  • bloated abdomen
  • ocular infections
  • Lethargy

4. Psittacine Beak & Feather Disease (PBFD)

PBFD is an illness that can afflict any parrot family member. It is frequently referred to as “bird AIDS” since the symptoms are so similar to AIDS.

This illness primarily affects birds under two years of age, however it can afflict birds of any age. When the condition advances, birds with compromised immune systems may succumb to subsequent diseases and perish.

Often, a skin or feather biopsy is necessary to confirm the existence of PBFD. Although there are currently no particular therapies available, birds with this illness will receive supportive care.

Examples of PBFD symptoms

  • Dead or atypically produced plumes
  • Beak lesions
  • absence of down powder
  • Plumage loss

5. Hepatic Lipidosis

Hepatic lipidosis, commonly known as fatty liver disease, occurs when fat accumulates in the liver and around the heart, impairing the heart’s capacity to carry out regular functions.

When this illness advances, the liver’s capacity to detoxify and clot blood is reduced, which may result in blood poisoning or excessive, protracted bleeding.

Depending on the age of the diseased bird, two kinds of hepatic lipidosis exist. Young birds commonly develop juvenile hepatic lipidosis as a result of being hand-fed calorically loaded meals. Mature birds can develop hepatic lipidosis due to a lengthy history of starvation.

Symptoms of Hepatic Lipidosis include the following

  • Extensive underskin fat deposits
  • Distended abdomen
  • Exaggerated beak
  • elongated claws
  • Obesity
  • There are tender spots on the beak.
  • Low quality feathers

6. Pacheco’s Disease

Pacheco’s sickness is a very contagious and fatal disease that affects parrots. It is caused by the Herpesvirus and can cause damage to the liver, kidneys, and spleen.

After a bird has been infected, it may or may not exhibit symptoms, but it will often perish within a few days of contact.

Examples of Pacheco’s illness symptoms

  • Green-colored excrement
  • Listlessness
  • Swelling Eye redness
  • Fluffy feathers
  • Tremors
  • Diarrhea

7. Candidiasis

Candidiasis is a prevalent fungal illness that typically affects young or immunocompromised birds. All bird species are susceptible to this virus, which affects the digestive tract.

A disturbance or rapid imbalance of bacterial populations might result in overgrowth of Candida, which is normally present in the digestive system in modest quantities.

Antifungal drugs can treat the majority of Candida infections. Nevertheless, it can sometimes develop subsequent to another ailment; thus, a comprehensive veterinary examination is required to discover the reason.

Candida exhibits a variety of symptoms

  • White lesions in the oral cavity or pharynx
  • Loss of appetite Vomiting
  • Slow crop draining
  • Lethargy

8. Aspergillosis

Aspergillosis is a fungus that frequently causes respiratory illness in birds. It can damage the sinuses, eyes, lungs, and air sacs.

The fungus responsible for this illness develops slowly, causing progressive tissue damage over weeks or months. Aspergillus lives as minute spores that may be found almost anywhere, such as on moldy foods and in soil.

This ailment may be difficult and time-consuming to treat. Often, the treatment consists of medication or surgical excision of the affected regions.

Aspergillosis is indicated by the presence of a number of symptoms

  • Respiratory trouble
  • Tail bobbing
  • Weight reduction
  • Lethargy
  • Puff up feathers
  • Listlessness

9. Papillomas

The papillomavirus causes warts, also known as papillomas. A papilloma is a tiny, solid lesion with a distinct edge that is elevated relative to the surrounding skin tissues. It could have a peduncle or resemble a wart.

Lesions or warts on the skin are the only indication of papillomas, which generally appear on the legs, head, feet, or beak.

Nevertheless, the lesions can also be present in different areas of the gastrointestinal system, most frequently in the cloaca, the common entry for the genital, urinary, and gastrointestinal tracts.

10. Goiter

Avian goiter, also known as thyroid hyperplasia, occurs when the cells of a bird’s thyroid gland multiply and cause the gland to swell. This increases the strain on the hearts, air sacs, and digestive tracts of the injured birds.

Many factors, including iodine deficiency in the diet and septicaemic illnesses, can induce goiter. Although seeds are lacking in iodine, a trace element utilized by the thyroid, it is frequently observed in birds fed exclusively seeds.

Symptoms of goiter include the following

  • Enlarged thyroid gland (neck swelling)
  • Weight reduction
  • Wheezing
  • Trouble in respiration
  • Seizures
  • Crop distension
  • Vomiting
  • Depression
  • Lethargy


11. Air Sac Mites

Sternostoma tracheacolum, or air sac mites, are parasites that may infiltrate a bird’s respiratory system. Mites are most often found in canaries and goldfinches, although other species, such as budgies and cockatiels, can also contract them.

Symptoms of Air Sac Mites consist of

  • Decreased speaking and singing
  • Low-quality feathers Fluffed-up feathers
  • Sneezing
  • Wheezing
  • Wet nostrils
  • Excessive saliva
  • Weight reduction

12. Obesity

Due to bad diets and a lack of activity, obesity may be a big concern in pet birds. They are occasionally confined to cages and their wings are clipped, leaving them with few opportunities to exercise.

The increased risk of illnesses such as atherosclerosis and hepatic lipidosis in obese birds makes them prone to strokes and heart attacks.

Obesity birds can also pass away unexpectedly owing to stress, such as that experienced during a normal medical appointment.

Symptoms of obesity consist of

  • Regions without feathers
  • Breathlessness Excess fat along the chest
  • Exercise intolerance
  • In females, egg binding


Final Thoughts

Proper husbandry can aid in preventing some frequent ailments in your feathery companion. Nonetheless, occasionally pets become unwell despite their owners’ best efforts.

To offer your bird the greatest possible chance of survival, provide a high-quality nutrition and regular enrichment, and don’t neglect your annual avian vet checkups.

Hopefully, “12 Common Diseases in Pet Birds: Everything You Should Know!” by BestForPets (bestforpets.org) has shed light on the most prevalent problems birds experience.

Now, if your bird begins to display abnormal behaviors, you can identify them more readily and administer therapy more quickly.

Author Image

Dr. Deborah Fletcher

Deborah R. Fletcher, DVM, is a skilled veterinarian with more than 15 years of experience dealing with companion and exotic animals. She has experience caring for a variety of animals, including household cats and dogs, reptiles, birds of prey, and even primates. Dr. Fletcher is a valuable part of the BestForPets team, where she contributes to their aim of providing pets and their owners with the finest possible treatment and services.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Deborah Fletcher


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