Educational Articles

Birds + Medical Conditions

  • Feather loss is as much of a concern to bird owners as hair loss is to dog and cat owners. The feathers of a bird provide protection, insulation, flight, and visual signals to other pets.

  • Kidneys are paired organs in the abdomen that filter the waste products of metabolism from the blood for excretion from the body. They are also important in maintaining water and electrolyte balance in the body.

  • The liver is an important organ that is involved with digesting food, storing and filtering the blood, and with many other metabolic functions. Because it has so many functions, a healthy liver is extremely important.

  • As with other pet animals, obesity is a problem often encountered with birds. Obesity is a major problem in older birds and can contribute to diseases that are commonly seen in geriatric birds such as fatty liver disease (hepatic lipidosis).

  • As with hair, each feather normally emerges from one follicle. Polyfolliculosis (sometimes called Pruritic Polyfolliculosis or Polyfolliculitis) is a malformation of the follicle in which multiple feathers (2-6) grow within one follicle (12 feathers in one follicle has been reported). The word "pruritic" means "itchy".

  • The polyomavirus of pet birds belongs to the family Papovavirus, the same group of viruses that causes benign skin tumors (papillomas or warts) in birds. Polyomavirus can cause benign feather lesions in budgies (the so-called French molt or Budgerigar Fledgling disease) or acute death.

  • Poxviruses can infect many species of birds, and each species of bird may have its own unique species of pox virus (mynah bird pox, canary pox, parrot pox, etc.). Poxviruses can cause several different clinical syndromes, depending upon what part of the body is infected.

  • First recognized in the early 1970's, proventricular dilatation disease (PDD) was originally called "Macaw Wasting Disease", as the disease caused a gradual wasting of macaws. Since that time, the disease has been found to affect more than 50 different species of pet birds.

  • Respiratory diseases are among the most common problems seen in all species of pet birds. Because they can have a variety of causes, early diagnosis by your veterinarian and proper treatment is necessary to prevent severe illness.

  • Seizures are reasonably common in birds and often observed in Amazon parrots, African grey parrots, budgies, canaries, finches and lovebirds. A seizure may result from any disorder in the brain that causes spontaneous electrical discharge in the nervous system.

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The telephone number at the Emergency Veterinary Clinic is 905-495-9907.