Parrot keeping and care should be a lovely experience for both you and your pet bird. As bird owners, you bear the responsibility of taking care of your bird’s health. To carry out this responsibility you must be aware of the various diseases that can affect parrots and their common signs and symptoms. The common symptoms seen in any kind of bird diseases are unusual droppings, ruffled feathers, cloudy eyes, reduced appetite, open mouthed breathing, changes in vocalization, and weight loss. If you see any of these signs, it is indicative that your bird is ill and needs medical attention.
Birds have very delicate systems and early diagnosis can save your parrot’s life. Parrots have high metabolisms and if they are not eating well, drinking water, and acting normally, you can lose your beloved feathered pal. So, you must keep a regular eye on your parrot’s behavior to detect any unusual pattern can indicate you that your little friend needs your help. It is important that if you detect parrot disease, you must immediately consult your vet for both identification of the disease and proper cure.
Here are a few common diseases in parrots which require your attention and proper treatment:
- Psittacosis: Also known as parrot fever, it is caused by Chlamydophila psittaci. The symptoms observed are discharge from the eyes, difficulty breathing, diarrhea, lethargy, loss of appetite, depression, and weight loss. The disease needs the right treatment or it could be fatal. The success of the treatment depends on the age and species of the bird. The disease is contagious and can pass to human as well. If your bird is detected with psittacosis, you must thoroughly disinfect the premises and the bird’s cage as well as belongings.
- Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease (PBFD): PBFD is caused by a virus that also sometimes affects the liver, brain, and immune system. The commonly observed symptoms are pneumonia, rapid weight loss, premature shedding of developing feathers, bleeding in the feather shaft, progressive elongation of the beak with breaks, rotting appearance of the beak, and diarrhea. PBFD can be fatal for young birds and even adult birds that survive can become carriers. It is vital that you avoid any direct or indirect contact with infected birds. Proper bird care and antibiotics are the best cure. Moreover, it is not contagious to humans.
- Aspergillosis: The common symptoms of this fungal disease are depression, difficulty breathing, wheezing, and squeaking. Parrots get infected with this disease usually due to a weakened immune system, poor diet, lack of sunlight, and respiratory irritants. You must avoid damp nesting material, contaminated corn and peanuts, and wet shavings to protect your parrot from aspergillosis. The course of medication is generally long term and must be under an avian vet’s supervision.
- Pacheco's disease: This is caused by members of the herpesviridae. The symptoms include diarrhea, lethargy, anorexia, ruffled feathers, and tremors in the neck and legs. You must isolate the bird. Replace all the air filters and clean fan blades in order to prevent your bird from getting Pacheco’s disease. Also, you must disinfect the premises and contaminated surfaces with chlorine bleach.
- Gout: This is a kidney illness in parrots. The signs include dehydration and food regurgitation. A balanced diet rich in calcium is advised by avian vet as a means of prevention.