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Find information on animal health topics, written for the veterinary professional.

* This is the Veterinary Version. *

Signs of Illness in Pet Birds

By Teresa L. Lightfoot, DVM, DABVP (Avian), Chair, Avian and Exotics Department, Florida Veterinary Specialists

Owners should use special times with their pets to observe their habits and look for subtle changes in behavior, food consumption, water consumption, and feather condition (see General Signs of Disease in Birds). In the wild, most birds are instinctively aware that they are the prey of many other animals. Under these conditions, birds will often attempt to hide any weakness or illness. Pet bird owners should be aware of this built-in defense mechanism and be alert to subtle changes in their bird. Any changes in activity, appetite, behavior, or feather condition are a signal that your bird should be examined for possible illness or injury. One of the first signs of illness noted by astute parrot owners may be a decrease in talking or other vocalizing. Owners often overlook these early changes and medical care is delayed until the condition is too far advanced for optimal care. With alertness on your part, care can be provided more promptly and your pet can live a longer and healthier life.

When a bird is ill, the veterinarian will often collect and analyze a sample of the bird’s blood. Blood tests, x-rays, and other diagnostic tests can help in the diagnosis of disease, just as they do in humans and other animals.

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* This is the Veterinary Version. *