Diseases Diseases

Top 5 Diseases Of Avian Pets

Published at 03/27/2012 22:48:00


Owning an avian pet can be simply delightful. Birds are very intelligent creatures who like to mimic their owners by talking to them or performing other human-like actions. They are also very social animals and very easy to train. Avian pets enjoy spending time with their owners, and they generally live much longer than other pets. Unfortunately, there can also be a downside to owning a bird. Many of them can carry diseases that, if left untreated, can cause harm to the pet and in some cases, even make humans sick. Here is a look at the top five diseases of avian pets.

Step 1

One of the first diseases is Psittacosis, a type of Chlamydia that is common in avian pets. You may also know the disease as Parrot Fever or Ornithosis. It is very serious and contagious and can even spread to other animals and humans very quickly. Psittacosis comes from a bacterial infection. It is very common in avian pets who live outdoors, such as doves and in bords with hook-bills. Such as parrots. Some of the symptoms of this disease include eye infections, watery droppings, lethargy and difficulty in breathing. If you suspect your avian pet has Psittacosis, take him or her to your veterinarian immediately.

Step 2

Another one of the more common avian pet diseases is Salmonella. You've probably heard this term used mostly when dealing with food and cooking; that is because it tends to affect young chicks and ducklings more than any other bird. Lethargy, diarrhea and loss of appetite are the most common symptoms, but if the disease advances, your bird may become extremely thirsty and show signs of organ damage. Fortunately, it can often be treated with antibiotics. Again, it is easily passed to humans. Throughout the United States, over 40,000 people contract Salmonella poisoning each year. Most of the time it simply causes severe intestinal issues for about a week, but some people require hospitalization for dehydration and some even die from it. The best way to prevent yourself from contracting this disease from your avian pet is to wash your hands thoroughly after handling your pet or cleaning up after them.

Step 3

Avian Tuberculosis (TB) is another one of the avian pet diseases that humans should be mindful of, as it can be contagious. It is usually passed to humans who accidentally ingest feces that have been contaminated with the disease. If your bird has Avian TB, he or she will most likely show signs of weight loss and lethargy. Diarrhea is also a symptom. If you suspect your bird has Avian TB, contact your veterinarian immediately. You may also consider wearing rubber gloves when handling the pet.

Step 4

When it comes to avian diseases that scientists do not know much about, Proventricular Dilatation Disease (PDD) is one of them. Also known as Macaw Wasting Syndrome or Parrot Wasting Syndrome, the disease is almost always fatal and at this time, there is no known cure. Symptoms include weight loss, vomiting and a swollen crop. Your veterinarian should be contacted if you suspect PDD.

Step 5

Candidiasis, or what is more commonly known as a yeast infection, can affect avian pets, too. While the fungus lives in the digestive tracts of many birds, it can become serious under certain conditions, such as when the avian pet eats spoiled food or has poor hygiene, or when the bird's health is compromised due to other reasons. Symptoms of an infection include white lesions around the bird's mouth, vomiting and a loss of appetite. In advanced cases, it can harm your bird's respiratory system, skin and central nervous system. Often times, Candidiasis can be treated.


If your avian pet contracts any of these diseases or begins to act or look sickly, the best thing to do is to contact your veterinarian immediately. However, the best way to handle any of these diseases is to attempt to prevent them. This means washing your hands after handling your avian pet. It also means keeping the bird's cage clean, removing old, uneaten food and never putting too many birds together in one cage. A dirty, overcrowded cage can quickly become a breeding ground for many type of avian pet diseases.