To the untrained eye, it can be difficult to tell when a pet bird is sick. Unlike other animals, birds do not exhibit many outward signs of illness until they are very ill.
As a result, it is important for bird owners to be aware of the subtle signs that can indicate a bird is sick so that they can get their feathered friend the help they need as soon as possible.
Signs of Illness in Pet Birds: How Do You Know When Birds Are Sick?
As a pet bird owner, it’s important to be aware of the signs that your feathered friend is ill.
After all, birds are experts at hiding illness, and by the time they show outward signs of being sick, they may be very ill indeed.
Here are some common signs of illness in pet birds:
Change in Appetite or Drinking Habits
One of the first signs that something is wrong with your pet bird is a change in its appetite or drinking habits.
If your bird stops eating or drinking altogether, this is a serious sign that something is wrong and you should take them to the vet immediately.
However, even a small decrease in appetite can be a sign of illness, so it’s important to pay close attention to how much your bird is eating and drinking on a daily basis.
Drooping Wings or Fluffed Feathers
Another common sign of illness in pet birds is drooping wings or fluffed feathers.
Birds are very precise creatures when it comes to their appearance. So if their wings are drooping or their feathers are looking less than perfect, it’s a good idea to take them to the vet for a checkup.
Bleeding or Trauma
Bleeding or trauma are also serious signs that something is wrong with your pet bird. If you notice any cuts, scrapes, bruises, or broken bones, take them to the avian vet immediately.
Birds are social creatures who enjoy being around others, so if your bird seems depressed or isolated, it’s a good idea to have them checked out by a vet.
Depression can be a sign of many different illnesses in birds, so it’s best to err on the side of caution.
Agitation or Biting
Birds are usually calm and gentle creatures, so if yours seems agitated or starts biting more than usual, it’s a sign that something is wrong.
Agitation can be caused by many different things, including pain, fear, anxiety, stress, and illness. If your bird seems agitated, take them to the vet as soon as possible.
Walking in Circles
If your bird starts walking in circles endlessly, it’s another sign that something is wrong. This behavior can be caused by everything from vertigo to neurological damage to crop infections.
No matter what the cause may be, it’s best to have your bird checked out by a professional ASAP.
Eye Issues (Closed Eyes, Discharge, Red Eyes, Cloudy Eyes, Swelling)
One of the most common signs of illness in pet birds is eye issues. This can manifest itself in several ways, including closed eyes, discharge, red eyes, cloudy eyes, or swelling.
If you notice any of these issues with your bird’s eyes, it’s important to contact a veterinarian as soon as possible.
Another common sign of illness in birds is labored breathing. If your bird is panting or gasping for breath, this is an indication that something is wrong and you should seek medical help immediately.
Additionally, if you notice your bird sneezing or with a runny nose, this could also be a sign of illness.
One of the early warning signs that your bird is sick is nasal discharge. This can take the form of clear, watery secretions or thick, cloudy mucus.
If your bird is suffering from a cold or viral infection, you may also notice sneezing or wheezing.
Nasal discharge is often accompanied by other symptoms, such as lethargy, loss of appetite, and increased thirst.
If you notice any of these signs, take your bird to the vet as soon as possible for a thorough examination.
One of the most common signs of illness in pet birds is lameness. This can be caused by a number of different conditions, including infection, injury, arthritis, and cancer.
If your bird is lame, it will likely have difficulty walking and may even appear to be favoring one leg.
Vomiting is one of the most common signs of illness in pet birds. While occasional regurgitation is normal behavior for some birds, vomiting is excessive and can indicate a serious problem.
If your bird vomits more than once or twice a day, it is important to seek veterinary care. Excessive vomiting can lead to dehydration and malnutrition, and it can also be a sign of organ dysfunction.
In some cases, vomiting may be accompanied by other symptoms such as lethargy, diarrhea, and weight loss.
If you notice any of these signs in your bird, it is important to contact your veterinarian immediately.
One of the most common signs of illness in pet birds is vent prolapse. This occurs when the muscles that support the bird’s vent (the opening through which it excretes waste) weaken, causing the vent to protrude.
In some cases, the prolapse may be mild and only temporary, but in severe cases, it can be life-threatening.
Vent prolapse is often caused by poor diet, dehydration, or obesity, and it can be exacerbated by stress or physical activity.
If you suspect that your bird is suffering from vent prolapse, take it to a vet as soon as possible for treatment. Early intervention is key to preventing serious complications.
Seizures or Paralysis
One of the most dramatic signs of illness in pet birds is seizures or paralysis. While it can be alarming to see your bird having a seizure, it is important to remain calm and contact your veterinarian immediately.
There are many potential causes of seizures in birds, including infections, head trauma, and low blood sugar levels. In some cases, the cause may never be determined.
If your bird experiences more than one seizure, or if the seizures last for more than a few minutes, it is especially important to seek medical help right away.
Paralysis can also be a sign of serious illness in birds and should always be evaluated by a veterinarian. There are many possible causes of paralysis, including injury, infection, and neurological disorders.
If your bird is unable to move its legs or wings, or if it is having difficulty perching or standing, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Seizures and paralysis are both serious signs of illness in pet birds and require prompt medical attention.
One of the first things you may notice if your bird is sick is weight loss. Birds are very sensitive to changes in their environment and routine, and illness can cause them to lose their appetite.
If you notice your bird eating less or losing weight, take them to the vet for a checkup.
Changes In Droppings
Another sign that your bird may be ill is changes in its droppings. Healthy bird droppings should be firm and dry with few seeds or undigested food visible.
If you notice changes in the color, consistency, or frequency of your bird’s droppings, it may be a sign that something is wrong.
Diarrhea or watery droppings can be a sign of infection while very dark droppings can indicate internal bleeding. If you see any changes in your bird’s droppings, take them to the vet right away.
Lethargy And Sleepiness
Birds are naturally active creatures, so if yours suddenly seems sluggish or sleepy, it may be a sign of illness.
While some lethargy is normal during molting season, sudden lethargy can indicate an infection or other serious health problem.
If your bird seems unusually tired or inactive, take them to the vet for a checkup.
Changes In Voice
Another common sign of illness in pet birds is changes in voice. If your normally chatty parakeet suddenly becomes quiet or starts making strange noises, it may be an indication that something is wrong.
Changes in voice can also be accompanied by yawning or clicking noises which may mean your bird has a respiratory infection. If you notice any changes in your bird’s voice, make an appointment with their vet as soon as possible.
Sneezing Or Wheezing
Like humans, birds can catch colds which will cause them to sneeze and wheeze just like we do when we’re sick.
However, because birds have such delicate respiratory systems, even a minor cold can cause serious problems so it’s important to take them to the vet at the first sign of illness.
In addition to sneezing and wheezing, respiratory infections in birds can also cause breathing difficulties, increased sleeping, and fluffed-up feathers.
If you notice any of these symptoms in your bird, make an appointment with their vet right away.
What to Give Birds When They Are Sick?
It’s never fun when our feathered friends fall ill, but there are some simple steps you can take to help your pet bird feel better.
First and foremost, take your bird to the vet. Only a professional can properly diagnose your bird’s illness and prescribe the necessary treatment.
Once you have a diagnosis and a treatment plan, it’s important to follow your vet’s instructions to the letter. This might include changes to your bird’s diet, special medications, or additional exposure to UVB light.
One of the most important things you can do for a sick bird is make sure they’re getting enough rest. Provide them with a quiet place to recuperate away from any stressors like loud noises or other pets in the house.
Another crucial step in helping a sick bird is boosting its immune system. Offer them foods that are high in vitamins A and C, like dark leafy greens or sweet potatoes.
You can also give them supplements specifically designed for birds.
Finally, don’t forget the power of TLC! Spend extra time with your feathered friend when they’re feeling down.
Gently petting them or talking softly to them can help them feel more comfortable and ease their anxiety.
Can Birds Recover From Sickness On Their Own?
There are a lot of sick birds out there. Whether it’s due to the change of seasons, or because they’ve been in contact with other sick birds, many pet parents find themselves wondering if their feathered friend will recover on their own.
Here are a few things to keep in mind if your pet bird is under the weather.
The first thing to understand is that different kinds of birds will have different susceptibilities to sickness.
Wild birds, for example, are more likely to be exposed to a wider variety of diseases and may not have the same level of immunity that domestic birds do.
If your bird is experiencing symptoms and you think it may be sick, it’s always best to take them to the vet for a checkup as soon as possible.
However, there are some common cold-like symptoms that pet birds can recover from on their own, such as sneezing, watery eyes, and apathy.
As long as your bird is still eating and drinking and doesn’t appear to be in pain, chances are good that it’ll get over whatever’s ailing them within a few days.
If you notice your bird starting to act differently or you’re concerned about its health for any reason, don’t hesitate to take them to the vet. Early detection and treatment are always the best courses of action when it comes to sick birds.
Signs of Illness in Pet Birds: Final Thoughts
Birds are very good at hiding their illnesses since showing weakness makes them vulnerable to predators in the wild.
As a result, it’s important for bird owners to be aware of the subtle signs that something might be wrong so that they can get their feathered friend the help and extra care they need as soon as possible.
If you notice any of the above symptoms in your pet bird, make an appointment with their veterinarian right away for a checkup.