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Cockatoo Birds

Having a cockatoo as a pet, one might face certain common pet health issues.

Cockatoos suffer from the same diseases as other birds and are prone to certain specific diseases. Pet health care experts can tell you that there are some diseases which cockatoos have a tendency to develop. Some of the most prevalent health conditions in cockatoos are fatty liver disease, lipomas, obesity, psittacine beak and feather disease (PBFD), feather picking and self mutilation and bumblefoot.

There seems to be a genetically pre-disposed obesity seen in cockatoos, especially the rose breasted Galah cockatoos. Lack of activity and a high calorie diet can aggravate this problem.

An obese or over weight cockatoo might have trouble breathing or suffer joint bone stress. Cockatoos having obesity issues are more likely to have problems such as diabetes, liver disease, heart disease, pancreatitis or atherosclerosis. Regular and rigorous exercise with a pellet-base diet is the best way one can keep a cockatoo’s weight under control. Another common disease which is fatty liver disease occurs in cockatoos due to obesity.

The bird’s liver provisions energy in the form of fat. The fat replaces the liver cells. Due to obesity the fat cells take up all the liver space making the liver barely functional. Once all the cells are replaced with fats there are not enough functional parts of the liver left and hence the bird dies. Lipomas is yet another disease caused due to obesity where benign fatty tumors are usually seen on the lower region of the abdomen. These are not fatal but they can grow bigger or ulcerated and cause discomfort to the bird. These can be removed surgically or a restricted diet can reduce the size.

The Psittacine beak and feather disease is caused by circovirus which attacks the cells that produce beak and feathers and also the immune system cells. This results in poor feather growth and fallen feathers do not get replaced. This can also lead to a damaged or fragile beak which cannot repair on itself. Since this disease also attacks the immune systems, cockatoos often develop secondary infections along with this and die. There is no cure for this disease yet. Bumblefoot is a health problem which occurs due to lameness. The bird’s foot swell and lesions are formed and a milky colored discharge is seen. A diet rich in vitamin A can help this condition heal but if left untreated can lead to amputation of the toes or foot. Aspergillosis, PBFD, bacterial infection, worms or lice infestation can make the cockatoo pick feathers or self-mutilate. If not a medical reason, it can be an obsessive compulsive disorder which can be an outcome of stress, boredom or sexual frustration.

  Submitted on May 7, 2010