Parrots and Diseases: The Health of Your Bird

No one likes to be sick. Your pets don’t like it, either. Just like you, parrots can catch illnesses and develop diseases. Your feathered friend is significantly more sensitive than you are, however. They easily catch infections and bacteria that are more than just “unpleasant” to experience—they can be life-threatening to your bird. Parrots and diseases just do not mix.

WeezerMore Than a Passing Cold

Parrots have fairly delicate bodies and immune systems. They can easily pick up infections from other birds, other types of pets, and even you, the owner. Disease of any kind can be fatal if not dealt with right away. Bacteria is an obvious problem, but living situations can contribute to illnesses as well. Worse, some birds many not display overt symptoms of a problem until their condition is already serious. Some feathered friends can even be a “silent carrier.” This means they do not display any signs of the illness, but can still pass it on to other parrots around them.

Common Bird Diseases

Some issues are particularly dangerous and need to be watched for. Here are just a few of the common diseases that could affect your parrot:

  • Food Poisoning and PesticidesBad food or residual pesticides on produce can make your parrot very ill. Only use fresh, organic food that you’ve washed with special veggie wash.
  • Psittacosis – This is a serious infection that can actually pass to humans in some cases. Typically it causes sinus problems and changes the appearance of a bird’s excrement. Sometimes it can cause organ damage as well.
  • Polyoma – Also called polyomavirus, this is particularly dangerous to baby birds. Symptoms like loss of appetite, diarrhea, and muscle weakness appear very suddenly. This infection is usually fatal to young birds.
  • Mycobacteriosis – Also called “avian tuberculosis,” this is an intestinal disease in parrots that can be difficult to treat. Your bird may lose weight and develop breathing problems, diarrhea, increased thirst, and strange masses around the skin and eyes. This illness can also be transmitted to people.
  • Megabacteriosis – Poor sanitation can lead to this wasting disease. Young parrots start to lose weight until they die. Typically a sick bird will become lethargic and have blood in its excrement.
  • Fume Poisoning – Non-sick coatings in pans and ovens can release fumes that are toxic to your parrot. Don’t cook with these surfaces when you have a parrot around.

What to Do When Your Parrot Gets Sick

Since parrots and diseases of any kind can be a fatal mixture, your bird needs immediate vet care if you notice a change in health. Don’t wait. Quarantine your feathered friend and wash your hands both before and after handling it so your bird doesn’t pass around an infection. You’ll need a variety of diagnostic tests from an experienced vet to identify the problem and get the right treatment. Your vet will help you with the medication and care that your feathered friend needs to recover.

At a sanctuary like Sy’s Piece of Heaven, we’re familiar with the risks of disease and infection. Many of the parrots we rescue were abused or came from unsafe homes, so they can have serious health issues or illnesses. That’s why we invest so much in keeping them well. We always have some bird at a vet’s office, receiving the care it desperately needs. Bird sponsors play a huge role in helping us afford the care that each parrot requires to live a healthy life.

If you’re concerned about the health and wellness of your own feathered friend, don’t wait for an obvious problem to seek help. If you need, our team at Sy’s Piece of Heaven can recommend bird health care for you. We’re also looking for more bird sponsors to help us with our rescued parrots who desperately need their own medical attention. If you’d like more information, or to volunteer with Sy’s Piece of Heaven, just call (908) 475-8750.