One of the many responsibilities that comes with owning a pet parrot is routinely checking it for signs of illness and disease. Whether you own a large Macaw or small budgie, all parrots are susceptible to certain types of illnesses. Some of these illnesses are obvious, whereas others are more discreet.
This week, we're going to reveal some simple and effective ways to tell if your parrot is sick. Keeping your eye out for some common symptoms will significantly increase the chance of a positive prognosis. The earlier you detect illness in your parrot, the easier it will be treat.
One telltale sign of a sick parrot is wet droppings. Granted, a parrot's fecal matter naturally has some liquid in it, but this doesn't mean it should be runny. If so, there's something not right going on in their digestive system.
A healthy parrot should have semi-solid fecal matter that doesn't run. If your parrot's droppings have more of a liquid consistency than solid, they could be suffering from a parasite, virus, or infection.
I know this probably isn't something you want to inspect too closely, but you need to be aware of your parrot's droppings. In fact, it's not a bad idea to keep a journal nearby so you can write down things like how much they are going to bathroom, what time of day, and how watery their droppings are.
Only a licensed and experienced avian veterinarian can tell you exactly what's causing your parrot's wet droppings.
Loss of Appetite / Not Drinking
Arguably, one of the most serious and concerning signs of a sick parrot is when they stop eating or drinking. A healthy parrot will normally peck away at their food without hesitation. Parrots LOVE to eat, so owners should naturally become concerned when their parrot stops eating.
If your parrot normally eats two bowls of pellet/seed mix daily, but all of a sudden goes down to just 1/2-1 bowl, there may be an underlying problem.
Some parasites can trigger disruptions in a parrot's normal digestive system, causing them to no longer eat. Parasites, worms and digestive disorders may cause them to stop eating, though.
If you notice your parrot is no longer eating food or drinking water, take them to a veterinarian who specializes in birds immediately. The longer you wait to seek professional medical help, the greater the risk becomes for long-term damage.The complications of this alone can lead to a world of other health problems.
Lack of Energy
Parrots are typically full of energy and personality. When you walk into the front door, chances are they will greet you with a big "hello" and then proceed to do their happy dance.
If a parrot is sick, however, that may not exhibit this same level of enthusiasm. Instead, a sick parrot will likely mope around and sleep for longer periods of time.
Keep an eye on your parrot and always be aware of how much they are sleeping. Some owners may brush it off as non-concerning issue, but it could be a sign of an underlying illness or condition that needs to be addressed.
Loss of Feathers
Sudden feather loss can be a sign of illness in parrots. Parrots that suffer from vitamin deficiencies (particularly vitamin A), for instance, may lack the proper nutrients to maintain their feathers, at which point they will gradually fall out.
Of course, feather loss can also be caused by stress. When a parrot is stressed, depressed, or experiencing other psychological issues, they may pluck out their own feathers. This is why it's important for owners to provide their birds with a healthy, stimulating environment.
Other Signs of a Sick Parrot:
- Discolored droppings
- Lack of energy
- Temperature changes
- Watery eyes
- Excessive sneezing
- Sudden, unexplained weight loss
- Visible blood
If you notice any of these symptoms in your parrot, take them to an avian veterinarian immediately! The longer you wait, the greater the chance for severe complications and lasting damage.
Depending on the particular species, a healthy parrot can live well over 50 years. In fact, there are some instances where parrots are passed down from generation to another because they outlive their owners.
However, their lives are oftentimes cut short from disease, infections and other forms of illness. This means its fairly important to clean your parrot's bird cage too. As an owner, it's your responsibility to know the signs of a sick parrot so you can offer them better care and treatment.
The bottom line is that you need to take your parrot to the veterinarian if you notice any of these signs. Only they will be able to perform a more thorough examination of your parrot to diagnose an illness.
Has your parrot suffered from a disease or illness? We'd love to hear your story in the comments section below!