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5 Signs That Your Bird Needs to See a Vet

Common Early Signs of Illness in Birds


Sick birds who don't receive prompt attention from a qualified avian veterinarian can easily get worse and even die. Because a bird's natural defense mechanism is to try to mask any signs of illness, weakness, or injury, it is often hard to tell that they are experiencing trouble until they have been sick for quite some time. Because of this, it's imperative that bird owners constantly monitor their pets' health for early warning signs that can signal a medical problem. Read on to learn about some of the most common signs of illness in pet birds. If you notice any of these issues in your own feathered friend, it is advised that you seek the help of a qualified avian veterinarian as soon as possible.

Abnormal Droppings

It pays to keep a close eye on your bird's droppings -- in many cases, a change in the color or texture of your pet's waste can be an early sign of illness. While the color and consistency of a bird's droppings will vary according to the foods that they eat, there are certain telltale signs of unhealthy droppings that you can look for to help clue you in as to whether or not a vet visit is necessary. Droppings that appear yellow, tarry black, or reddish-brown can be a cause for concern and can signal several different types of internal issues. Droppings should also display a good balance of liquid to solid waste, as those that are too loose or firm can be a red flag as far as your bird's health is concerned.

Labored Breathing

Anything that signals respiratory distress in a bird should be considered a serious problem that demands prompt veterinary attention. Birds have highly specialized and sensitive respiratory systems, and complications can quickly turn deadly if they aren't treated with haste. If you observe rapid or shallow breathing in your bird, or if you notice his or her tail bobbing up and down with each breath, seek the help of a veterinarian right away in order to offer your pet the best chances for recovery.

Loss of Appetite

Healthy pet birds generally exhibit voracious appetites, and will readily show interest in a variety of pellets, seed mixes, and fresh, bird-safe fruits and vegetables. If you notice that your normally hungry bird has become more finicky about his or her eating habits, it is a good indicator that something may not be right medically speaking. Seek the help of a vet as soon as possible for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Ragged/Dirty Feathers

Birds that are in good health normally exhibit good grooming habits such as bathing and preening their feathers. Sickly birds who don't feel well will often slack on their grooming routines, giving their feathers the appearance of being dirty or worn looking. If you notice your feathered friend looking disheveled, it is probably a good idea for you to schedule a prompt appointment with your vet, and to spend some time observing your bird in order to root out any other abnormalities in your bird's behavior that may give a clue as to what the problem might be.

Abnormal Vocalizations

It's normal for a healthy and happy bird to spend a good part of the day making a wide variety of vocalizations. You know your own bird better than anyone else does, so you will be the best judge of whether or not there is a change in the frequency or type of vocalizations that your bird usually makes. Birds that don't feel well may begin making sounds that are higher or lower in pitch than normal, or may become more quiet than usual. If you notice a significant change in the types of sounds that your bird makes, it is a good idea to schedule a vet check to rule out any potential health issues.
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