Wheezing, clicking, sucking, sneezing, coughing, neck stretching,
nostril discharge, open mouth breathing and excessive beak wiping.
All of the above symptoms can also be indications of a Bacterial, Fungal or Protozoa caused respiratory infection. First eliminate the possibility that it is the air-sac mite. Treat your bird with Scatt or S76. If the symptoms do not subside within 48 hours, then your bird has one of three types of respiratory infection. Each type is caused by a different organism and each type of infection will require a different medication.
Respiratory Infections Causes
- Wet environment - moist, humid environment like a damp basement or living outdoors with high humidity over 50% to 90%.
- Contaminated food, seed, grit, sprouted seed, decaying plant matter, air-conditioners, wet/damp bedding, humidifiers.
- Wet areas in cages - puddles after bathing, leaking water drinkers.
- Organisms ingested when the bird eats the food or inhales the air-borne toxins will display all the symptoms mentioned above.
Fungal Infection Treatment
Aspergillosis is a fungus that causes acute respiratory disease in birds. It is a serious and often fatal fungal disease. Birds inhale or ingest spores of the Aspergillus fungus, which grows on decaying plant matter such as wet, moldy seed or litter. A bird with Aspergillosis typically has labored, rapid breathing. It may have difficulty walking and behave oddly. It may also have neurological problems, extreme itching, flaky beak, diarrhea, and suffer from lack of appetite, weight loss, sleeplessness, and increased thirst. Fungal growth in the eyes causes cloudiness and discharge. Fungal infections are common in birds with vitamin A deficiency, malnutrition, stress and in various other weakened states. The antifungal drug Megabac S is the treatment of choice.
Protozoa Infection Causes
The most common protozoa infection is Trichomonas/ Canker. This protozoa is found in damp, wet environments most often in birds housed outdoors in direct contact with the earth. Contamination will spread to the healthy birds through feces in the water/bath dishes.
There are two forms of Canker. Dry Canker becomes visible as cheesy deposits in the mouth and at the back of the throat of nestlings at pinfeather age (8-10 days old), making it difficult for them to eat and resulting in the birds wasting away. Youngsters with this form of canker choke to death. Infected birds with the Wet form of Canker breathe with an open mouth and have a wet moist wheeze. Wet Canker sometimes causes the birds to blow bubbles and discharge the mucus from the mouth and nostrils, which causes feathers on their face and shoulders to appear wet. This mucus causes the raspy breathing and beak rubbing. The canker germ is also poisonous to the liver and the afflicted birds become ill, do not eat and produce dark green, watery droppings. Vomiting and an increased thirst may also occur. Deaths often accompany this form of canker as it quickly spreads through the flight.
Ronivet-S 12% - Canaries & Finches (Ronidazole) is the treatment of choice for Trichomoniasis/Canker. Treatment is in the water for 5 days. Improvement should be seen in 3 to 4 days. In severe cases (prolonged periods of time) treatment for 5 days with a 2 day break, followed by another five-day course, brings most outbreaks under control.
Bacterial Infection Causes
All environments are contaminated with bacteria. It is impossible to eliminate them all. Stressful conditions, overcrowding, molting, breeding, mites and poor diet, lower the bird's immune system. Bacterial is the most common respiratory infection. Most common are E.coli, Streptococcal and Staphylococcal and Ornithosis/ Chlamydia.
Strep and Staph Treatment
The symptoms of a Strepinfection closely resemble those seen with serious outbreaks of Ornithosis. Infections may also appear in outdoor, overcrowded and unhygienic aviaries. Symptoms include diarrhea, skin irritation, foot infections, eye colds, tail bobbing, sneezing, beak scratching and dead in shell. A sign of a Strep or Staph infection is swelling in any part of the head. A combination medication containing Amoxicillin and Tylosin, Amoxycillin, is a treatment for Strep and Staph infections.
Ecoli infections reproduce wet, smelly nests and sticky, wet feathers. Trimethoprim Sulfa is the drug of choice for Ecoli infection. Trimethaprim Sulfa should be administered for 5 consecutive days when an E.coli infection has been diagnosed. Its use should be restricted to individual sick birds during the molt because it may damage growing feathers. Many E.coli infections are associated with a high pH in the bowel that delays the natural healing process.
Ornithosis (Psittacosis) or Chlamydia is an airborne disease, commonly carried and spread by exposure to wild birds. Indoor birds can become infected when a new, previously outdoor-housed bird is introduced to the flock. Signs of a bird suffering from Chlamydia are subtle and difficult to detect. Poor breeding results or dead-in-the-shell chicks, slow or unsuccessful molts, one-eyed colds, inactivity are some of the more obvious signs. Chlamydia /Ornithosis in our birds requires a fecal and blood test by your vet.
Confirming a diagnosis before initiating medicinal treatment is preferable to choosing a remedy based solely upon symptoms and probabilities. A visit to your avian vet to find the exact cause of the symptoms you are hearing would be best.
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