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Common Diseases in Pet Birds

Avian Illnesses Explained

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As bird owners, it's important to be aware of the diseases and disorders that can affect our precious pets. Early detection of illness is key to successful treatment in pet birds, and is indeed important to their survival in many cases. Read on for an overview of some of the most common illnesses that affect birds in captivity, and how to recognize their symptoms. If you notice your own bird exhibit any of these signs of illness or other uncharacteristic behavior, you should seek the attention of a qualified avian vet as soon as possible.

Proventricular Dilatation Disease (PDD)

Perhaps one of the most confounding avian disorders, the ways that PDD is spread from bird to bird are still unknown. Symptoms of PDD include weight loss, vomiting, changes in the bird's droppings, and a swollen crop. PDD is also known as Macaw Wasting Syndrome and Parrot Wasting Syndrome.

Psittacosis

Psittacosis or "Parrot Fever" is a form of the Chlamydia bacterium that can affect all hookbills. The disease is highly contagious and can be passed from birds to other animals, including humans. Symptoms of Psittacosis include difficulty in breathing, eye infections and inflammation, loose, watery droppings, and general lethargy.

Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease (PBFD)

PBFD is a serious illness that can affect all members of the parrot family. Although most affected birds are under the age of 2 years, PBFD can affect birds of any age. Symptoms of PBFD include feather loss, abnormal feather development, absence of powder down, and growths, lesions, and abnormalities of the beak.

Polyomavirus

Polyomavirus is a disorder that causes a bird's flight feathers and tailfeathers to develop abnormally, and in some cases, not to develop at all. Symptoms of Polyomavirus include appetite loss, an enlarged abdomen, paralysis, and diarrhea. Some birds may not show outward symptoms at all, but are carriers of the virus and may shed it in times of stress, posing a risk of infection to other birds in the home.

Candida

Candida or Candidiasis infections can affect all birds, and involve an overgrowth of yeasts that are normally found in a bird's digestive system. Common symptoms of Candida infections include white lesions in and around the mouth and throat, vomiting and appetite loss, and a crop that is slow to empty. Most Candida infections are successfully treated using antifungal medications.
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