A Closer Look at Parrot Diseases
A parrot is an ideal choice if you’re looking for a companion pet that provides loyalty and friendship that can last for several years. However, owning and taking care of this magnificent bird is not a simple task. Aside from investing time and effort, you will also be required to provide extra care in maintaining its health.
In addition to having regular check-ups with a vet, it is also very important to learn a thing or two about the various diseases that are commonly associated with parrots. With a basic knowledge, you can catch the earliest symptoms and probably save your pet’s life in the process. For parrots, some of the most common diseases that you must constantly look out for is Pacheco Disease (PVD), Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease (PBFD), Feather Plucking, Avian Tuberculosis, Avian Chlamydia, and Avian Polyomavirus.
Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease (PBFD)
Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease is a common parrot disease that results in loss of feathers and development of abnormal feathers. Aside from its endearing personality, the parrot is also highly regarded for its physical beauty including its feathers. Whenever you observe continuous changes in the normal growth of feathers or excessive shedding especially on newly grown feathers, these may be telling signs of Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease (PBFD).
Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease are caused by a viral infection that can also affect the brain, liver and immune system. When left untreated or proper treatment is not immediately given, death and other health issues will eventually develop especially in young birds. Furthermore, there have been cases wherein after treatment, the bird becomes a carrier, which is why proper treatment is very important.
Birds infected with this virus usually show various symptoms such as abnormal beak shape, lesions on the nails and beak, sudden weight loss, inactivity, unwilling to interact with people, fatigue, and depression. In addition, bird species that are most susceptible to this disease include Lovebirds, African Grey Parrots, Macaws, Eclectus Parrots, Ringneck Parakeets, and Cockatoos.
When you suspect your bird has this disease, it is mandatory to isolate it from other birds immediately. This disease is highly contagious, and transmission is maximized through direct contact. Although the infected bird is already removed, the environment can still host the virus so it is a must to clean the area thoroughly. Furthermore, immediately bring the infected bird to a vet to get proper treatment.
Pacheco’s Disease (PDV)
Pacheco’s disease is often fatal without proper treatment. It affects both young and adult parrots and is usually developed when the parrot is under heavy stress such as breeding season, loss of a partner, and change of location or environment. Extreme changes in weather can also contribute to the development of this disease.
Some of the most common symptoms associated with Pacheco’s disease include diarrhea, loss of feathers, fatigue, inactivity, unwilling to interact, loss of weight, tremors in the neck and legs. In some cases, the poo becomes green and mushy, which indicate the development of other health issues such as liver damage.
Pacheco’s disease is highly contagious, so it is recommended to isolate the bird for several days until the virus is treated. After a few days of being infected, the bird will naturally discharge the virus through fecal and nasal discharge. This will take several days, with some cases lasting for a couple of weeks to a month. To make sure that the disease will be properly diagnosed and treated, it is best to bring your pet to a vet.
Avian Chlamydia, also referred to as parrot fever or chlamydiosis, occurs when there is an intracellular parasitic infection. It is an airborne bacterial disease that carries symptoms such as sudden body temperature change, watery bowel movement, and lethargy.
Incubation in infected birds starts within ten days, with some lasting for months. Due to the fact that this disease is highly contagious, birds living in closed environments are more susceptible. With proper treatment, the infected bird can discharge the bacteria or virus through its fecal matter and feather dust. However, even without a host, the bacteria can survive in dusty substances and contaminate the air.