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Symptoms of Illness in Pet Birds - How to Tell if Your Bird is Sick

Signs that Your Bird Needs Medical Attention


Symptoms of Illness in Pet Birds - How to Tell if Your Bird is Sick

Your bird's cere, the patch above the beak containing the nostrils, can become swollen, red, and runny if your bird is sick.

Is your bird feeling a bit "under the weather?" Would you really even know if he was? As bird owners, we bear the responsibility of making sure our pets stay healthy. In order to fulfill this obligation, we must learn to identify common signs and symptoms of illness. Protect your bird by learning to recognize when it's time to go to the vet.

What to Look For

When a bird gets sick, it is often very serious. Although birds can be very effective at hiding signs of illness from their owners, there are a few tell-tale symptoms that owners should be on the lookout for in order to have the best chance of saving their pet. If your bird exhibits any of these symptoms, he needs to be transported to a vet immediately.

  • Unusual Droppings: The color of your bird's droppings will vary slightly depending on what you feed him. Nonetheless, you should watch out for droppings that are yellow, rusty brown, or tarry black. These can be indicators of internal bleeding, amongst other serious problems. You should also notice if there is a major change in the consistency of your bird's droppings. If they are too runny or too firm, it can cause complications for your pet.

  • Ruffled Feathers: Birds that sit with their feathers fluffed out for prolonged periods of time are often affected by respiratory problems or other disorders. Ruffled feathers are also good at concealing weight loss, which can be life threatening for a bird. If you observe this behavior in your pet for more than a day or so, you should contact your vet as soon as possible.

  • Red, Inflamed, or Runny Cere: Your bird's cere is what we perceive as his nose -- the little patch above his beak that holds his nostrils. Pay close attention to your bird's cere. If you observe any redness, inflammation, or discharge, there is a very good chance that you pet could be seriously ill. Make sure to keep your bird wrapped up and warm on the way to the vet.

  • Cloudy Eyes: If your bird's eyes look cloudy or have a discharge coming from them, he may be affected by a respiratory, nervous, or muscular disorder. You should rush to the vet as soon as possible as your bird needs immediate treatment.

  • Reduced Appetite: Birds have extremely high metabolisms, so it is vital that they receive adequate nutrition every day. If your bird stops eating and begins to lose weight, it may be a sign of an intestinal blockage or impaction, in which case he could die very quickly without medical attention. Make sure to clean out the bottom of your bird's cage every day before you feed him. This provides an easy way to monitor food consumption, not to mention changes in droppings.
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How to Recognize a Sick Bird
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