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10 Signs To Recognize A Sick Or Dying Pet Bird!

Pet birds are excellent at hiding when they are ill. In the wild, this is a natural reaction to being prey. When a bird exhibits signs of disease, it becomes a great prey for predators. Even if your bird has a comfortable environment, this instinctive response to conceal illness is still inscribed into its Genome.

If your bird is acting strangely, it could be due to disease. There are a few tell-tale symptoms that anything is amiss with your bird's health, so becoming acquainted with these signs is essential.

Continue reading "10 Signs To Recognize a Sick or Dying Pet Bird!" by BestForPets (bestforpets.org) to learn how to spot the signs of a sick or dying pet bird.

What Makes Pet Birds Ill?

According to VCA Animal Hospitals, one of the most common causes of sickness in pet birds is incorrect food. Poor cleanliness, trauma, stress, and inadequate husbandry are among factors that contribute to illness.

Because birds are good at hiding signs of sickness, your bird may appear perfectly normal on the exterior, but this does not imply that it is healthy.

Every divergence from the usual, no matter how minor, should be treated seriously because it may indicate ill health. To offer your bird the best chance of survival, contact your avian vet as soon as you see signs of disease.

Let’s take a deeper look at some of the signs to be aware of.

The 10 Signs That Can Help You Tell If Your Pet Bird is Sick or Dying

1. Puffed Feathers

Birds that are sick or dying will puff up their feathers. While this is a natural activity in healthy birds, most will only puff up if they feel a cool breeze or when they prepare to sleep.

Ruffled feathers can trap warm air, so if the environment is drafty, your bird may appear puffier than usual as it struggles to remain warm. If your bird is washing its feathers, it may fluff them up as well.

Yet, this is not a behavior that should be displayed on a regular basis. If you find your bird puffing up and being puffy for an extended period of time, it could be fighting off a fever or infection.

2. Abnormal Feathers

As a bird owner, you must regularly inspect the health of your bird’s feathers. Its feathers can reveal a lot about its overall health and mood.

A ill or dying bird’s feathers may have poor colour or a different structure, texture, or form than typical. Your bird may be plucking them or experiencing feather loss symptoms.

A ill or dying bird may not be as interested in maintaining its typical preening behaviors, thus its feathers may appear unkempt or stuck together.

3. Skin Changes

The impacts of an ill or dying bird can be felt by more than simply the feathers. Your pet’s skin might also reveal information about its health. It may begin to appear dry or scaly. Flaking, crustiness, or open sores are possible. Your bird may be scratching at its skin excessively, and there may be obvious scratches and bruises. If there are any evidence of swelling or bulges on the body, a trip to the veterinarian is in order.

Cysts or lumps at the base of your bird’s feathers may be seen. You won’t be able to see these with a visual investigation, but you’ll be able to feel them as you inspect your bird.

4. Neurological Changes

A ill or dying bird may struggle to stay on its perch. It may begin to shiver or shake and may even tumble from the perch to the bottom of the cage. Some may look shaky or even swoon before falling, while others will start having seizures. If your home is at a reasonable temperature but your bird is still shaking or shivering, it is a definite indication that it is ill.

Head tilting, drowsiness, weakness, and even paralysis are some neurological symptoms.

5. Difficulty Breathing

If your bird becomes sickly or sick, its breathing pattern may change. When you discover symptoms of breathing problems in your bird, you should get it checked out as soon as possible because they might be life-threatening.

Sneezing, laborious breathing, and wheezing are not normal respiratory sounds for your bird. Air sac mites may be present if you see your bird making these noises or clicking while it breathes. These parasites enter the respiratory tract of birds and cause discomfort and illnesses.

Additional symptoms of difficulties breathing include tail bobbing with each breath, neck stretching out to enable more air into the air sac, open-mouth breathing, or continual yawning. Breathing problems can be caused by a variety of factors, but Teflon poisoning and household chemicals are among the most preventable.

6. Reduced Appetite

Because birds have a high metabolism, you must ensure that your pet receives the nutrition it need on a daily basis. If you find your bird isn’t eating as much as normal or is losing weight, it could be due to an impaction or intestinal blockage. Refusing to eat or losing weight can indicate that your bird is nearing the end of its life.

Feeling the breast area of your bird will tell you whether it is losing weight. Your bird is underweight if you can feel the bone. You should also weigh your bird on a regular basis to keep track of its weight.

It can be difficult to detect if your bird is eating properly because they frequently pretend to eat when they are not. You may see that their food dishes are empty, leading you to believe that they are eating.

Yet, they are actually taking pellets or seeds from their bowls and dumping them to the bottom of their cage. Make it a habit to regularly inspect the cage bottom for wasted food.

7. Changes in Drinking Habits

If your bird starts drinking a lot more than normal, it could be developing diabetes or having liver problems. On the other hand, drinking too little can be an indication of a serious sickness. This is especially true if the lowered fluid consumption is accompanied by significant changes in appetite.

8. Behavioral Changes

If your bird begins to exhibit unusual habits, it could be unwell or dying. For example, if your pet is generally rather sociable but has recently become irritated and biting, there could be an ailment at work. Similarly, if your normally high-strung bird becomes unusually gentle, there could be a problem.

If your normally vocal bird stops singing or imitating sounds it hears in its environment, it could be due to a major health problem. You may also notice a difference in the tone of your bird’s vocalizations. If this is the case, keep an eye out for any further symptoms over the next few days.

9. Lethargy

A sick or dying bird may begin to reduce its movements and may even sit in its cage with its eyes closed. A bird that has never liked being picked up may allow you to handle it because it is too weak to flee. It may also prefer to sit on the floor of its cage rather than its normal perch.

Ill birds will occasionally hang from the side of their cage by their beaks rather than using a perch.

10. Changes in Feces and Urine

Because your bird’s feces is a great sign of its overall health, we recommend being acquainted with the appearance of your pet’s droppings. Any changes in its pee or feces can suggest that it is unwell.

Dark red or black feces can suggest the presence of blood. This could be an indication of a disease such as cancer.

If there is clearly visible food in the excrement, your bird is not digesting its food properly. If your pet is female, this could signal a gastrointestinal problem or egg binding.

A fungal or bacterial illness can be indicated by watery feces.

The urine of a bird is not yellow like that of other household animals. Instead, it appears as urates, a white and chalky material. There could be an issue if you don’t observe any urates in your bird’s droppings or if they’re yellow or lime in color.

Final Thoughts

As warned in “10 Signs To Recognize a Sick or Dying Pet Bird!” by BestForPets (bestforpets.org), if you don’t create a habit of regularly monitoring your bird, you won’t recognize indicators of disease or impending death.

Recognizing disease symptoms will be lot easier once you’ve established a baseline for how your bird normally behaves. Check your pet’s food and water consumption, examine its feces and urates, and observe its behavior on a daily basis.

Remember that your pet relies on you to give the things it requires to grow, so do your homework by keeping an eye on your feathered friend.

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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