LUBARP: Diarrhoea

The Liverpool University Budgerigar Ailment Research Project, sponsored by the Lancashire, Cheshire and North Wales including the Isle of Man Budgerigar Society, was started in 1984 and ran for 8 years.

After this success with a disease at the top end of the digestive system (vomiting budgies), in 1986-7 attention was turned to the other end to look at why some birds developed diarrhoea. In some ways this was a less successful investigation, in as much as it did not come up with as neat an answer as the first two. Over 20 different causes of diarrhoea were discovered but none was much more common than the others. Some of the causes were within the digestive system itself; some outside it; some of the conditions were treatable and others were not.

One of the commoner causes of the disease was loss of the bacteria which should be present in the intestine. At the end of the work, all we could do was suggest to the fancy that in cases of diarrhoea if simple remedies such as cold tea do not work and the problem persists, laboratory investigation of both the bird and samples of droppings is essential to find the cause. In many cases antibiotics are not the answer to the problem. If they are used, and in cases where the gut flora has been lost, probiotics have a very useful role to play in restoring the germs which should be present.

Original text copyright 1987, Dr John R Baker

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