Illustrated Articles

Medical Conditions

  • Abnormal droppings are a non-specific sign of illness in birds. Causes may range from a dietary intake of excess fruits to bacterial or viral intestinal infections and heavy metal toxicity. Any changes in the color or consistency of your bird's droppings should be addressed by your avian veterinarian.

  • Aspergillosis is a severe and sometimes life-threatening fungal infection that commonly causes respiratory disease in pet birds. Infected birds may show respiratory signs, including tail bobbing, difficulty breathing, and coughing. Several diagnostic tests are available, but surgical laparoscopy is the most accurate. Aspergillosis is a very challenging disease to treat and even more difficult to cure. In many cases, referral to an avian specialist is advised.

  • If they are well looked after, including proper diet and husbandry, bearded dragons are reasonably hardy animals. Common health conditions of pet bearded dragons include CANV, atadenovirus, metabolic bone disease, parasites, infectious stomatitis (mouth rot), and respiratory infections. Any change from normal is cause for concern and should be immediately evaluated by your veterinarian.

  • Bearded dragons are susceptible to several health problems; understanding them will help you prevent them from occurring in your pet and know when to seek veterinary attention. Problems described in this handout include salmonellosis, avascular necrosis, tail rot, abscesses, and dystocia (egg binging).

  • Candida is a type of yeast that may cause problems in the digestive tract of birds. In young birds, immunocompromised birds, or birds that have been on antibiotics for an extended period, candida may overgrow in the digestive tract and cause various problems, such as 'sour crop'.

  • Cataract formation is a reasonably well-known occurrence in pet birds. Canaries are more prone to cataract formation than other species of birds. Cataracts may be inherited or be secondary to a traumatic injury or infection involving one or both eyes.

  • Chinchillas are generally hardy animals but can have several unique problems; understanding them will help you care for your pet and manage potential health problems.

  • Chinchillas are generally hardy animals but are susceptible to several unique health conditions; understanding them will help you care for your pet and manage potential health problems. This handout describes the most common conditions seen in pet chinchillas.

  • Chlamydophilosis (psittacosis, chlamydiosis, parrot fever, ornithosis) is a common disease of birds caused by a bacterial organism called Chlamydophila psittaci. While this disease can occur in any bird, it is especially common in cockatiels, Amazon parrots, and budgerigars. Birds with chlamydophilosis exhibit a decreased appetite, weight loss, lethargy, diarrhea, nasal or ocular discharge, a fluffed-up appearance, and breathing difficulties. Some birds can carry C. psittaci asymptomatically, spreading it to other birds (and people) through their droppings and respiratory tract secretions. Because tests for diagnosing chlamydophilosis in birds, are not 100% reliable, veterinarians will often rely on a combination of test results to formulate a diagnosis. Treatment is usually with oral or injectable doxycycline antibiotic for 45 days. In humans, this disease often causes flu-like respiratory tract signs such as fever, sweating, headache, fatigue, muscle pain, inappetence, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and a dry cough. Since chlamydophilosis is a zoonotic disease, all new pet birds should be examined by a bird-savvy veterinarian and have some form of testing for this disease.

  • Chronic egg-laying occurs when a female bird lays one egg after another or lays repeated clutches of eggs. Chronic egg-laying may lead to malnutrition and egg binding. There are both behavioral and medical interventions to stop chronic egg-laying.