Sick Bird Symptoms
Bird Species and Their Respective Syndromes (Lists diseases specific bird species are most susceptible to)
Please choose your pet's primary symptom ... to find out possible causes:
Please note - this resource will be continually updated to include new information as available. Please keep in mind that not all diseases / health problems can be covered. The resource provides the more common problems associated with each symptom.
Some of the diseases require direct or indirect contact with a diseased bird (viral / bacterial disases, for example). If a pet hasn't been in contact with other birds for years, then one can exclude / ignore them for the most part. In those cases, it is more likely that nutritional factors or toxicities are involved in the disease process.
One can narrow the possibilties further down by considering susceptibility of the species (as listed). If none are listed, then most birds may be susceptible to the disease.
Nost Notable Symptoms:
- Breathing / Labored
- Drooling: Yeast
- Eyes: Swollen, Red and/or Runny
- Feather Problems
- Head Twisting, Unnatural Head Positioning, Circling
- Head - Wet feathers, possibly soiled: A wet head on an otherwise dry body typically describes what happens when a bird vomits, as opposed to regurgitation. Other symptoms include head shaking. Supportive care needs to be provided until the bird can be taken to the vet, which should happen as soon as possible.
- Joints / Legs / Feet: Swollen, Maybe Painful
- Legs: Weak, Paralysis
- Lethargy / Weakness / Depression
- Bird Poop / Droppings (Abnormal) and / or Increased Water Consumption and More Urine in Droppings
- Respiratory Problems / Breathing Difficulties
- Skin Disorders (irritated sore skin, itchy skin, feathers falling out without being plucked, misshaped feathers, abnormal feather development)
- Sudden Death
- Swollen Abdomen or Crop
- Swollen Vent
- Voice - Loss of voice or changes
- Weight - Changes: Loss / Weight Gain
- Wing - Deformed (not by an injury)
If there is a symptom you can't find, please send me an e-mail and I do some research on possible causes.
.Breeding-age Hens Only:
Egg Binding - Swollen vent, weakness
Egg yolk peritonitis - Common / possible symptoms: Sudden death, loss of appetite/anorexia, weakness, depression, respiratory distress, lethargy, fluffed feathers, lack of vocalizations, yolk-colored droppings, swollen vent and/or abdomen (the swelling feels spongy to the touch), and ascites. Some of these symptoms also mimic egg binding. Most commonly seen in cockatiels, lovebirds, and waterfowl.
Scaly Legs / Swollen Feet - Common in canaries and finches.
Staph Infections / Foot Infection: The foot is likely to be swollen and may feel hot.
Scissors Beak - This is most commonly seen in cockatoos and macaws, but can occur in any species.
Parrot Beak - Most common in cockatoos, but can occur in any parrot species.
Angel Wing - common in waterfowl, such as geese, swans, and ducks
Fatty tumors (lipomas and xanthomas)
Marek's Disease - Occurs mainly in chickens under 16 weeks of age. Symptoms: Leg and/or wing paralysis, high mortality, tumors on visceral organs.
Lymphoid Leucosis (Poultry Viral Disease / Infectious Disease): Occurs mainly in laying hens between 4 and 10 months or age. Tumors in the bursa of Fabricius will spread to many other internal organs, especially the liver, spleen and kidney.
Most commonly caused by an infection in the trachea. Most often fungal (aspergillus), but could also be bacterial.
In budgies, cockatiels and some other species, goiter (an enlarged thyroid gland) is also known to cause sqeaking or crying sounds in addition to regurgitation and coughing. The enlarged gland compresses the trachea leading to voice changes and respiratory difficulties.
The vet needs to run diagnostic tests, such as cultures and blood work.
Toxins / Poisoning (either through ingestion or air-borne toxins):
Teflon Poisoning - overheated non-stick coating. Common if bird in or near the kitchen and non-stick coating cookware is used.
Heavy Metal Poisoning - Can affect all birds -- but especially those that have access to and like to chew on inappropriate items
Avian Goiter; Observed in many species of birds, including pigeons, canaries, budgerigars and wild birds
Avian Tuberculosis: Was common among imported birds. Common / possible symptoms: Sudden death or progressive weight loss in spite of a good appetite, depression, diarrhea, increased thirst, respiratory difficulty, decreased egg production often occurs in birds that were laying eggs. Click here for more info
Canary pox - Affects canaries. Common symptoms: Sudden death or the sudden onset of difficult breathing.
Egg yolk peritonitis (females / hens only) - Common / possible symptoms: Sudden death, loss of appetite/anorexia, weakness, depression, respiratory distress, lethargy, fluffed feathers, lack of vocalizations, yolk-colored droppings, swollen vent and/or abdomen (the swelling feels spongy to the touch), and ascites. Some of these symptoms also mimic egg binding. Most commonly seen in cockatiels, lovebirds, and waterfowl.
French Molt: Affects chicks of budgerigars, lovebirds, cockatiels and other psittacines (parrot birds / hook bills). Clinical signs usually appear about five to six weeks of age.Common / possible symptoms: : Excessive molting, occasional breakage of wing and tail feathers, feather loss. Watch for signs of bruising, bleeding and sudden death in chicks.
Fowl Cholera - Affects fowl. Common / possible symptoms: Sudden death, greenish diarrhea, high temperature, comb and wattle purple. Also swollen wattle. A chronic form of the disease exists in which lesions localize in a joint, wattle, infraohits, sinuses or other tissue. Treatment: Many drugs are available
PDD - Affects most parrot species, including macaws, African Greys, cockatoos, cockatiels, conures, Eclectus parrots, Amazons and budgies. Common / possible symptoms: Constant or intermittent regurgitation, chronic bacterial or fungal crop infections, pendulous crops, weight loss, passage of whole intact seeds in droppings, incoordination, depression or sudden death. Concomitant central nervous system signs may include ataxia, abnormal head movements, seizures, and proprioceptive or motor deficits.
Pulmonary Sarcocystosi - Most prevalent among non-American (African, Asia and Australian) psittacine species. Cockatoos, cockatiels and African parrots are most commonly affected with the acute fatal illness. Common symptoms: A hyper acute disease and birds are often found dead or near death without showing previous signs of illness. Birds may die unexpectedly after being observed as normal just a few hours before. Clear fluid usually exudes from the mouth when the dead bird is lifted.
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Information contained on this website is provided as general reference only. For application to specific circumstances, professional advice should be sought.
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