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Thread: Budgerigar Diseases Part 1

  1. #1 Budgerigar Diseases Part 1 
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    Budgerigar Diseases & Conditions Part 1

    Mites & Lice

    Disclaimer

    PLEASE TAKE NOTE;

    Although I have the experience of many decades of breeding budgerigars, and during the course of that time I have successfully helped birds that have lost condition or become afflicted or unwell,

    I AM NOT A VETERINARIAN

    AND I HAVE NEVER EXAMINED YOUR BIRDS

    You should be aware that any recommendations offered are not intended to take the place or supersede the advice of dedicated avian veterinary professionals.

    If you choose to use any suggestions and recommendations I offer, and your bird does not respond or becomes sicker, you MUST seek the advice of a veterinarian.

    Your birds are YOUR responsibility. I would rather offer you help than let your birds suffer and die.

    When we are at work we pay a sickness contribution weekly to our own health service, we are not ill so is the principle of prevention being better than the cure

    a sound one, think so. In ancient China you paid the doctor only while you were well if you took ill the payments stopped. In spite of our best efforts accidents happens and illness strikes at anytime and it is always a good thing to be able to recognize an ailment for what it is.

    We do worry about all sorts of odd things that appear to be wrong but you are only seeing normal behaviours most of the time.

    Let us begin with this Mite, the Air Sac Mite

    Symptoms of air sac mites in your budgerigars;

    Sneezing, Squeaking, coughing, wheezing, wet nostrils, open mouth breathing weight loss and a clicking sound.

    The Air Sac Mite is a grey or black mite that lives in the lungs and air sacs of the bird.
    The female lays eggs in the lungs and the newly hatched female mites after having a feed on the hosts blood move to the air sacs, the young males stay in the lungs until they mature. Female mites will also move into the windpipe, sinuses and syrinx.

    The bird should be treated once weekly for 3 weeks by applying Ivermectin 0.1% as per the manufacturers instructions.
    Hold the bird in your one hand and either blow the feathers to the side or wet the feathers of the neck under the bill and "comb" them to the sides exposing the trachea or "windpipe and then apply the drop of Ivermectin.


    Ivermectin - a Systemic treatment which kills Internal and External Parasites.

    INTERNAL: Worms, Air Sac Mites.
    EXTERNAL: Red Mite, Feather mites, Lice etc.

    SYSTEMIC: This means that it can be absorbed through the skin into the blood stream and if you don't wear protective rubber gloves - it will be absorbed through your skin and into Your Bloodstream also. This can give you a very unpleasant taste in your mouth.

    Response to the treatment will take a day or two and the birds will recover well. Remember to treat all birds at the same time not just affected birds.

    Do note once the mites die your bird/s will then start coughing them up out of their air sacs thus showing improvements day by day.

    If one bird is diagnosed with air sac mites all your birds must be treated




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    Red Mite.




    Red Mite is an obligatory blood-feeding ecto-parasite (ecto means it attacks or feeds on the outside of the bird) as opposed to worms (endo parasite) that feed on the inside. It attacks resting birds, mainly during the night for a short (1 - 2 hours) blood meal. After feeding, the mites hide in cracks and crevices away from daylight. Here they mate and lay there eggs.





    Red mites are very small and are just visible without magnification and may appear like moving specs of dirt the eggs are microscopically small (400 x 270u) oval and pearly white. Red mites are not species specific and will "attack" any species or breed of bird. They do not fly nor are they usually transmitted via clothing although if there is a bad infestation, mites have been known to "jump" onto a person's clothing and therefore could be transported this way to another location/Aviary etc.Remember they are only usually out of their hidey-holes towards dusk/dark and would be unusual for them to be active during daylight hours.





    They are extremely mobile considering their microscopic size and can travel great distances relative to their size! They can be transferred from bird to bird or from wild birds landing on your Aviaries, especially if you have an open roof.





    Adults - are red when engorged with blood otherwise black, grey or white, females are about 1 mm long, mouthparts: slender and whip like. Life cycle (stages) -Female mites deposit eggs (after a blood meal) in crevices, under boards, at the ends of perches where they butt up to the back of the cage or in debris near roosts. Under warm conditions the eggs can transform into : Six-legged larvae within 2 -3 days .These 6-legged larvae do not feed .Within 24 hours the larvae moult into 8-legged prototypes - which do feed.Protonymphs start to feed on roosting birds ,they then moult into Deut nymphs which continue feeding before becoming an Adult Male or Female Red-Mite.





    Deut nymphs take a blood meal then moult into adults .Under favourable conditions the life cycle (egg-to-egg) can be completed in 7 days (frightening!!) Adults have lived up to 5+ months without a Blood Meal So, they can live off their host (the bird) without a Blood Feed - for up to 5+ months and still survive! They are nearly white when unfed but are bright red, when recently fed .They are grey to black with a partially digested blood meal inside them.





    Site of infestation - Skin of the host, but most of the life cycle is spent in hiding places in the nest, Aviary, cage, perch-end or roost crevices.







    Pathogenesis/clinical signs - If the levels of infestation are high, the mite can cause increased stress to the birds - including: Anaemia, due to blood loss - Severe skin irritation -Blood loss can cause increased susceptibility to disease especially if the bird's living conditions aren't the most sanitary! Or may be severe enough to cause death.





    Clinical signs include restlessness, scratching, usually around the head with the foot or rubbing the head and face on perches (more often than usual) The mites can occasionally bite mammals, inc. humans, causing painful skin irritation often on the inside of the human forearm.





    A large infestation will cause anaemia amongst small birds. They can be especially dangerous to small chicks in the nest. Mites may be difficult to find on the bird during daylight hours. Look for mites in their hiding places during the day with a magnifying glass, mainly confined to dark hiding spaces. If you suspect you have Red-mite, hang a piece of white cloth/white sheet over the front of your cage and in the morning you will find blood-red mites (as they will have just fed) they seem attracted to the white cloth. Check for tiny black spots - the mite's droppings these are also indicative of infestation.





    Control measures - Seal as many joints & crevices of your Cages, Aviaries, Nest boxes & Feeders as possible Use "Painters' Mate" mastic (that sets hard) or similar (you can get it in brown)Red mites are able to survive rigorous cleaning and disinfections programmes .Heat guns have been used to some effect on the joints and crevices of wood-work. Steam cleaners (no birds in the Aviary at the time!). Synthetic Pyrethroid (Cypermethrin) .Pyrethroid (alphacypermethrin) Permethrin and Piperonly Butoxide ,Permethrin is also used in healthcare, to eradicate parasites such as head lice and scabies,and in industrial and domestic settings to control pests such as ants and termites. Silica-based products. Citrus extracts.FLYCAM W (Recommended by DEFRA for Poultry Farmers to eradicate Red Mite from their Flocks



    - apparently very effective - comes in powder Form and can be diluted to spray).





    IVERMECTIN "spot-on" is one of the most effective preventative and eradicating measures you can take.





    It works in a similar way to "Frontline" which you can buy to put on your dogs and cats to worm them and kill off flea’s etc.Ivermectin works systemically i.e. it is absorbed through the skin or feather shaft into the birds body. So, it follows that it also will be absorbed into your body through your skin if you get it on you. You MUST WEAR rubber GLOVES before you catch up your bird to administer it it can make you feel ill and you know you have absorbed it because you get a strange bitter taste in your mouth! Catch up your bird and blow the feathers apart at the back of its neck where it can't get it's beak to preen. Put one or 2 drops (check directions first so you do not overdose) on the back of the birds neck, as near to the skin as possible. Give it a few seconds to start to absorb before letting the bird go.IVERMECTIN controls and helps to kill both internal (worms) and external (mites and lice etc.) parasites. You can buy it over the internet or from certain Pet shops and at Bird Sales.





    Feeding your bird Garlic (helps deter mites) ,It works by exuding a strong garlic smell thru the birds skin, which the mites and other biting insects don't seem to like (your can buy pure Garlic powder or granules from Agricultural merchants or Saddlers)Add it to a soft food such as Egg Food and/or sweetcorn .Eucalyptus leaves/branches in the Aviary are supposed to help to deter Red-Mites, It has been rumoured that having Zebra Finches in the Aviary seems to have help get rid of them One theory is that they eat them. The other theory is that when the Red-mite suck the Zebra's blood it is toxic to them and kills them .Not sure which, if any is true - but worth trying - if you have a small-bird Aviary where the Zebra Finch would fit in with the other birds.





    Directions for use - Red Mite Concentrate or any Anti-mite spray preparation : Red mite is a nocturnal creature so it’s best to spray the birds at night. Check the preparation you are using is safe to use on birds or NEAR to birds BEFORE YOU SPRAY with your birds in their Aviary. Dim the lights as low as practically possible to avoid any undue agitation amongst the birds. Don’t forget that red mite can live away from the bird for up to 36 weeks.





    "GRANDAD'S" Tried & Tested Red-Mite deterrents - Paint Paraffin into the cracks and crevices with a small paintbrush. Mix Paraffin with Vaseline and smear in Cracks and crevices + nest box bases. Vaseline smothers the mites - as in scaly-face and scaly-leg. Use Carbolic Soap in the same way you would use the Paraffin & Vaseline .Double-sided sticky tape over cracks and crevices .Coca Cola - the coke sticks to them and the Acid in the coke breaks down the Red Mite's outer shell, killing them. A very sticky, but apparently effective treatment.




    Thanks to Solway Parrot Society for the use of this article.

    Last edited by Barrie Shutt; 06-03-2010 at 01:18 PM.

  3. #3  
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    Feather Mites

    There are a considerable number of species of feather mites. They are flat and live in the grooves of the feather barbules. They do not suck blood. The smallest feathers all possess some feather mites.

    Feather Mites: These tiny arachnids are so extremely small that to the naked eye they appear to be tiny dirt particles on the bird's body, wing, and tail feathers. On the Purple Martin, "colonies" of them can be seen on the long wing and tail feathers between the feather barbs, but you'll have to have the bird in your hand to see them.



    Clusters of tiny (0.5 mm long) feather mites on the upper surface of a Purple Martin's tail feathers (rectrices). They get their nourishment by chewing on the feathers. Although these parasites are typically harmless to Purple Martins, they can severely damage an individual's plumage during heavy infestations.

    For nourishment, they chew on the feathers and a heavy infestation may severely damage a bird's plumage. Other species of feather mites, known as quill mites, pass their entire life cycle within the hollow confines of the wing feather quills. These types feed on host tissue fluids by piercing the quill wall with their sharp mouth parts.

    Like the bird lice, feather mites spend their entire life cycle on the host, laying their eggs on the feathers. They are very habitat specific on their hosts, different species preferring different types of feathers and even different parts of particular feathers.

    The life cycle is the same as for red mite and the treatment with Ivermectin likewise.


  4. #4  
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    Flour / Fodder Mites.







    This is the commonest species (see above) of mite in foodstuffs; it has reddish/pinkish legs. Flour mites can live in almost any type of flour or in fodder and, not least important, in stores of seed or corn. They are also to be found on old cheese. A single female can lay up to 500-800 eggs in her lifetime at a rate of 20-30 a day.


    After hatching the life cycle consists of a larval stage, two so-called nymphal stages and the adult stage, which at 25C is reached in three weeks. These mites can go through their life cycle at a temperature as low as 0-4C, but they do require adequate humidity, and will not thrive if the relative humidity is less than 65% as they will desiccate. The entire life cycle may take only nine to eleven days to complete under the optimal conditions of 90% humidity and 77 F. The life cycle is completed in seventeen days at 64-71F, and twenty-eight days at 50-60 F. Flour mites are able to withstand periods where the conditions are unfavourable. After the second nymphal stage they may pass into what is known as hypopus stage which is a diapause form, in which they are almost immobile and very resistant to desiccation. In the hypopus stage, the body wall hardens and suckers appear on the underside. These suckers allow the mite to attach to insects and other animals for dispersal. The eggs and especially the hypopuses appear to be more tolerant of insecticides than other juveniles or adults; and they may be the primary stage responsible for resurgences in mite populations after chemical control appeared to have been successful.


    Flour or grain mites are pale, pearly or greyish white, with legs varying in colour from pale yellow to reddish-brown. Each leg has one claw at the end. As with all mites, they are smooth, wingless, soft-bodied creatures. The males are from 0.013 to 0.017 inch long, and the female is from 0.014 to 0.026 inch. The males have enlarged forelegs which bear a thick spine on the ventral side. These two characters can be used to separate Acarus sp. from other genera. Juvenile mites are similar in appearance to the adults. The first or larval stage has only six legs. However, when they moult into the nymphal stage, they have eight legs like the adults. Mite eggs are oval, smooth, white, and are 0.12 mm long.


    If there is any doubt as to whether flour is infested with mites it is only necessary to spread a little out on a table and leave it for quarter of an hour. If the mites are present the surface of the flour will become uneven as the mites start to wander about.


    Mite infested foodstuffs acquire a sickly sweet smell and a taste which renders them unsuitable for human consumption. Heavily infested products are definitely injurious and should be discarded. Heavily infested grain and feed that has become tainted and unpalatable as animal feed. When fed infested commodity, small companion animals (e.g., dogs) can show reduced feed intake, diarrhoea, inflammation of the small intestine, and impaired growth. Pigs that consume mite-infested feed have their live-weight gain, feed: gain ratio, and nitrogen retention markedly reduced.


    All aviaries carry fodder mites and seed should be stored in cardboard drums or a wooden seed bin, metal bins sweat and this helps the fodder mites to reproduce. Purchase MONOPROP and sprinkle some in the bottom of the seed bin before filling with seed, add a little more at different levels as the bins are filled, all mites in the bin will be eradicated if the lid is kept closed for two days after adding Monoprop.

    Courtesy of Solway Parrot Society

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    Scaly leg & face mite

    Knemidocoptes are a burrowing mite that can cause disfiguring changes of the beak, legs and feet of birds. The mite has a three-week life cycle and stays on the bird the whole time. The mites burrow into the skin and feather follicles around the cere, feet, and face, and feed on keratin. As the mites burrow they leave characteristic honeycomb lesions.

    The mites are transmitted from bird to bird by close contact.

    Scaly first shows up as a greyish white film on the upper mandible, starting at the corners of the beak and spreading sometimes to the Ceres, the rims of the eyes, the legs, and the vent.

    Budgerigars are often attacked by these mites but if you know what symptoms to look for you can then start treatment at once.

    This bird is very badly infected and was rescued by Darshani who has dedicated time and money to cure this bird,SCATT was applied as per the manufacturers instructions and a thin film of Vaseline shortly followed, this was applied over the affected area which causes the burrowing mites to suffocate.

    In severe cases the beak will start to grow malformed, .also, the legs and feet will also become malformed and the bird will become lame.

    Treatment is now easy with the one spots" that are now available over the counter in most countries. One drop on the birds skin at the back of the neck and the end result is a healthy cured bird.

    Active constituents:
    MOXIDECTIN 1000ug/mL

    Directions for use:
    Scaly Face: Apply in a single application 1 to 2 drops depending on the size of the bird (1 drop per 30g body weight), to the bare skin between the shoulders. Treat all birds, re-assess in 21 days and re-treat if necessary. It may take up to six weeks for effects of the treatment to become noticeable.

    Storage: Store below 30C and protect from light


    Ivermectin Drops 0.1% for cage birds (0.1%)


    IVERMECTIN DROPS 0.1% 10ML

    For treatment of mites in cage birds now available without veterinary prescription. Contains approximately 180 Drops of Ivermectin 0.1 % so is very cost effective. Easy to apply with the dropper provided. Product information sheet with dosage guide is included

    The only way to prevent mites from re-infecting is to disinfect the entire cage and its contents, do remember the perches. If more than one bird is present you must treat them all.

    The ideal avian disinfectant.


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    Parasite Prevention

    I dose all my birds twice a year, once before breeding starts and once after breeding finishes


    Active constituents:
    MOXIDECTIN 1000ug/mL

    Directions for use:
    Scaly Face: Apply in a single application 1 to 2 drops depending on the size of the bird (1 drop per 30g body weight), to the bare skin between the shoulders. Treat all birds, re-assess in 21 days and re-treat if necessary. It may take up to six weeks for effects of the treatment to become noticeable.

    Air Sac Mite: Apply in a single application 1 to 2 drops depending on the size of the bird (1 drop per 30g body weight), to the bare skin between the shoulders. For best results ensure re-treatment is carried out 3 to 4 times per year.

    Storage: Store below 30C and protect from light



    Ivermectin Drops 0.1% for cage birds (vvo0.1%)

    IVERMECTIN DROPS 0.1% 10ML

    For treatment of mites in cage birds now available without veterinary prescription. Contains approximately 180 Drops of Ivermectin 0.1 % ,so very cost effective.

    Easy to apply with the dropper provided.

    Product information sheet with dosage guide is included

    The only way to prevent mites from re-infecting is to disinfect the entire cage and its contents, do remember the perches. If more than one bird is present you must treat them all.

    The ideal avian disinfectant.










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    A number of worms can infect Budgerigar’s .





    The tape worm may be seen when the budgerigar evacuates its bowels where other worms need a microscopic examination of the bird’s faeces.





    ROUNDWORMS (Nematodes):








    Nematodes are the most numerous multicellular animals on earth. A handful of soil will contain thousands of the microscopic worms.




    Roundworms are particularly dangerous for budgerigars.




    Roundworms of birds are mainly small and threadlike, the largest being a few centimetres long and about 2 mm. thick. The habits of roundworms vary greatly and their life cycles may involve an intermediate host or be direct. Most can only exist as adults inside the host's body.




    Medicines that kill roundworms should be given each month during summer and autumn and every three months for the remainder of the year.




    Internal parasites are a common cause of poor development and illness in juveniles and adult birds.






    (Helminths)




    These are probably the most common parasites of all and include the gapeworms, threadworms, and proventricular and gizzard worms.


    The worms are cylindrical, smooth and unsegmented with tapered ends.





    WORMS, cleanliness in you birdroom will keep worms away, if you suspect worms take the bird with sample droppings to the vets and a wormer will be supplied




    Garlic




    A blood purifier and aids circulation and also acts as a deterrent against nites and insects. The birds exclude the smell through their pores and the crawlies cannot tolerate it. Available in powder form for sprinkling on your soft food. A natural de-wormer for worms.






    Bird Worming Liquid


    Effective against roundworms and hairworms in all cage and aviary birds.

    Administer either directly into the beak or dissolve in drinking water.


    This bottle treats approx 50 Budgies or 2-3 Parrots.





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    Air sac rupture

    Air sacs are located inside the neck, chest and belly. When ruptured, air will leak from the sac and accumulate under the bird's skin.

    If air is not released, the tear in the sac will enlarge.

    Disinfect the ruptured skin and with a sterile needle gently prick the area to allow the air to escape.

    Repeat if necessary.

    A chick with an obvious air sac rupture

    This may be the result of a feeding hen that can accidentally puncture the chick’s air sac.

    Budgerigars may rupture their air sacs by flying into windows or the result of a heavy landing.

    A startled bird due to night fright bird may damage their air sacs and do so much more damage so be prepared and always have a low wattage night light for your bird/s.

    A swollen area along the breast which when held feels very spongy and may even emit a crackling noise when touched is certainly an air sac rupture

    Gas under the skin or Subcutaneous Emphysema as it is normally called is the air that penetrates the subcutaneous tissues as the result of damage to part of the respiratory system.

    This can be alarming for the owner when the bird blows up into a grotesque shape within a few hours.

    Once access of air is stopped, however, the gases are slowly absorbed.

    This cock suffers from an air sac rupture but at the time this picture was taken he just appears to be fat, on another day he can be twice as bloated.


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    Arthritis

    Some budgerigars as they get older can develop arthritis in their legs and toes.

    This will cause a lot of discomfort to our bird/s.

    Signs of an arthritic budgerigar are swollen toes which point in an unnatural way.

    Two toes forward of the perch and two toes behind the perch are the natural way a healthy budgerigar will perch.

    Pressure sores may develop on the birds feet, they will then fail to grip the perch and have problems moving around.

    They will lose a lot of agility and may have problems with their balance.

    How can we help our arthritic budgie?

    We could help avoid arthritis in our birds if we supplied them with a large variety of perches throughout their lives instead of the same 12 mm or 15mm perches that arrived with our cages.

    I like willow branches in my aviaries as the wood is so supple and varied that it can only be good for our birds feet.

    Just to watch the chicks playing on a thin whipping willow branch is a true testament to its ability to provide all the exercise their feet need.

    Pressure sores that become infected will need to be treated with antibiotics available from your avian vet.

    Palm oil added to your birds seed will help to reduce the discomfort in the joints.

    Talk to your avian vet about the option of the regular use of aspirin for your bird.


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    Avian Gastric Yeast

    A new name for an old complaint

    Megabacteria –

    Megabacterisis are a common cause of mortality in exhibition Budgerigars. This can be difficult to distinguish against Streptococcus as both diseases have similar symptoms and a microscopic examination of the birds faeces will be needed to confirm which disease the bird is carrying.

    The name mega implies something very large and then add on bacteria , large yes because the cigar shaped organisms are almost twenty times the size of most common bacteria but new evidence suggest it is a fungus and not a bacteria as first thought.

    As a result of these new findings it was renamed and called Avian Gastric Yeast.

    Many of us will have lost birds over the years due to “going light” a term referred to by many aviculturists when birds waste away. There are many diseases that share the “going light” symptom and we will address these later.

    Megabacteria or AGY as they are now called are found in the digestive tract in the glandular stomach and the juncional zone between the glandular stomach and the gizzard.

    The transmission is thought to be by oral ingestion of the infected faeces. I personally would never rule out contaminated water fountains as a means of transferring this infection also.

    The symptoms of AGY are “going light” - chronic wasting, fluffed up, vomiting, prominent keel bone, increased hunger, large droppings and a pasted vent.

    Secondary changes can also occur in the liver as the bird becomes anorexic.

    The infected birds will appear to be eating continuously but all they are doing is grinding seed down into a dust, check your seed containers for dust if you suspect AGY in your stock.

    Impaired immunity inflicted by stress or other diseases will form an outbreak of AGY in your stud.

    Infection is widespread and it is assumed that this is due to the purchasing of infected birds or carriers.

    I am certain there are not many budgerigar fanciers that have not heard of Megabacteria I just hope they have never experience the disease.

    How can we be sure we do not have any AGY carriers in our bird rooms?

    Treatment is possible but I personally have had no success. I was using Megabac – S as per the maker’s instructions and I found I could stabilise the birds but they soon reverted back to their chronic illness.

    Megabac-S" amphotericin powder is given at the rate of 250mg per 50ml of water for ten days. Birds must consume 4ml per 100g of body weight a day to get a correct dose.

    Some birds fail to drink sufficient of the treated water via a water fountain so I would recommend using a crop tube to get the correct dosage.

    The use of this formulation in drinking water has been shown to reduce incidence but not eliminate the disease.

    Problems can occur with treatment as some drug have poor systemic uptake and many birds are unable to recover clinically due to the proventricular damage.

    The use of amphotericin in the water does reduce incidence but is unlikely to eliminate AGY.

    Some wise words from Brian Stockdale on the use of F10SC avian disinfectant –

    For those of you with an AGY problem wishing to try F10SC, the medication regime is 1ml in 1 litre of water given for 3 consecutive days once weekly. Where there is an endemic problem, using F10SC pre-pairing up (perhaps for 6 weeks and at least a month clear of egg-laying), to reduce the overall levels within the stud may be sensible.

    Don’t use (any medication) while there are young in the nest as the parent birds will potentially concentrate the product and feed a potentially harmful level to the chicks.

    A word of warning, don’t use F10SC or any other medicinal product purely on a whim. If you don’t have a problem don’t be putting chemicals of any description into your birds, rather encourage a healthy gut flora population and promote a strong immune system with good husbandry and sound nutrition.

    Many thanks to Brian Stockdale for giving me permission to print his article which can be viewed in full on my web site.


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    Bumble foot

    Bumble foot is a small wound found on the bottom of the bird’s feet, the first signs are lameness and if we inspect the birds feet we will see a small red sore often found on both feet.

    This is a common infection for domesticated chickens and Ducks Due to there constant walking on hard, or sharp surfaces.

    How often do we see a chicken or duck standing on one leg? Could this be bumble foot?

    Budgerigars are susceptical to bumble foot which can be caused by a deficiency of vitamin A and /or hard /rough perches.

    Look for a staining above the cere as this is a sign of discharge from the nostril which is the most obvious sign of vitamin A deficiency. The deficient bird may have rough looking feathers that lack lustre, the cere may be rough and a yellow dry scale may appear on the sides of the bird’s beak.

    Vitamin A can be found in dark leafy greens, carrots, red peppers and pumpkins. Vitamin A supplements are also available and birds usually respond quickly to a course of supplement.

    In my opinion the biggest cause of Bumble foot in budgerigars must be plastic perches, concrete perches, sandpaper covered perches and sandpaper cage floor coverings.

    This is an Australian Kestrel that was suffering from bumble foot and was successfully cared for and cured.

    http://care.raptor.id.au/intro.html

    Thanks for the picture Marra.

    These sores / abscesses are in the main caused by incorrect perching used in cages and aviaries so we need to be providing natural perches.

    With the odd exception all birds need the choice of several different types of perches, diameter and texture are very important.

    A budgie should be able to grasp a perch with the claws going three quarters of the way around, thinner swaying perches will offer exercise and play but are not suitable for general perching.

    Budgerigars are great chewers of soft wood and bark especially the hens in breeding condition and this is because the wood fibres are rich in cellulose.

    Willow would always be my first choice of perches the branches will be stripped and chewed and the Salicylic acid in the branches is the main ingredient of Aspirin - so it has medicinal properties.

    Safe natural wood branches for birds include the following:

    Apple - Arbutus - Ash - Aspen - Beech - Birch - Cottonwood - Crab-apple - Dogwood - Elm - Fir - Hawthorn -

    Larch - Magnolia - Manzanita - Mulberry - Pear - Pine - Poplar - Sequoia (redwood) - Willow

    DO NOT use apricot, cherry, peach, prune, plum or nectarine. These trees all belong to the Prunus species. They contain cyanogenic glycosides which release cyanide if ingested.

    Do not assume the leaves are safe and as a precaution I would suggest they are removed.

    How can we treat bumble foot?

    If caught early the avian vet will prescribe an antibiotic ointment that must be applied twice a day.

    If left untreated the infection in time will eat into the bone which will be very painful and life threatening.

    Hard cage floors should be covered with a soft towel until the bird’s foot/feet are completely healed.

    Pointers are –

    Keep the wound soft with antibiotic cream twice a day

    Provide a soft surface for the bird’s feet.

    Clean the wound twice a day

    Keep an eye on the birds feet in the future

    Provide vitamin A


  12. #12  
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    Bacteria

    Bacteria are a class of tiny organisms that can affect our bird's health; the most common are E-Coli, Strep, Citrobacter and Staph.

    Antibiotics are a group of drugs that are primarily used to treat diseases caused by bacteria, for these antibiotics to be effective they must be prescribed by an avian vet who will prescribe the correct drug and dose for your bird after taking a culture test.

    Symptoms of diseases caused by bacteria can include droppings that are green or watery. Ingested bacteria can irritate the bowel and damage the bird's kidneys and liver. Weight loss, vomiting and respiratory signs such as laboured breathing, coughing or sneezing is all signs of a bacteria infection.

    Seed contaminated with bacteria, mould and toxins will cause food poisoning. Breeding pairs and their chicks are most at danger as they may be possibly have been fed soaked seeds , egg food mix and vegetables all of which can be easily contaminated with moulds.

    It is difficult to detect fungal spores on dry seed but I did notice it during the cold damp winter after I had soaked a bunch of sprays in a mix of cold water and F10SC the following day mould spores were visible,these of course were thrown away.

    Seed could be contaminated during its growing stages , before or after it is harvested, during storage or transportation. The storage in your birdroom may be unsuitable , is it dry.

    Be warned wet grit and wet sand is more dangerous for your birds than dry foods. Vomiting and sudden death will occur if they have eaten either.

    E coli and Salmonella are the most common food poisoning bacteria’s , we will discuss Salmonella next.

    Full clutches of dead chicks with full crops could possibly be the result of contaminated soaked seed.

    I would use F10SC added to the water in which the seed is soaking as this will kill off any low levels of bacteria.

    Bacteria can be caused by inhaled or ingested infections and left unattended it is life threatening.

    A clogged vent may be caused by E coli due to food poisoning.

    Keep your birdroom clean, draught free, avoid all stale food, repair any damp areas, avoid peaks and troughs with the birdroom temperatures and make disinfecting your birdroom a regular occurrence.

    At the first outbreak of E coli remove all soaked seeds , isolate any infected birds , stop breeding , provide heat , remove all grit and sand and contact your avian vet for a culture test .


  13. #13  
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    Salmonella

    Salmonella food poisoning is a bacterial food poisoning caused by the Salmonella bacterium. It is found in poultry, eggs, unprocessed milk and in meat and water. It may also be carried by pets including birds.

    Infection results in the swelling of the lining of the stomach and intestines (gastroenteritis)

    Chronic carriers are rare in humans but prevalent in animals and birds.

    A sick bird suffering from salmonella may appear thin, fluffed up, lethargic and may have swollen eyelids.

    Some infected birds may show no outward symptoms but are carriers of the disease and can spread the infection to other birds.

    The risk of transmission is greatest in the aviary where large numbers of birds gather at feeding and water stations, dirty seed and water containers can cause an outbreak.

    Most infected birds die if they have a low immune system or are elderly.

    Salmonellas are transmitted by faecal contamination of food and water by sick birds, though it can also be transmitted by bird-to-bird contact.

    Salmonella is a common cause of mortality in feeder birds, i.e. at breeding times.

    Personal hygiene is very important when we are handling dead and sick birds; always wash your hands well before entering the birdroom.

    Keep all feeding utensils and water containers free from droppings.

    I have three sets of feed and water containers and at least one of these is normally soaking in a solution of clean water and f10sc disinfectant. .


    If you suspect a salmonella infection take a bird and a sample of its droppings to an avian vet ASAP. Your vet will test a sample of the droppings and can then identify the bacteria.

    Your avian vet may then prescribe a suitable antibiotic.

    Provided clean conditions, good nutrition and a stress-free environment and your birds will live a happy healthy.


  14. #14  
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    Other Bacteria’s

    There are several types of bacteria that affect birds, the most common I have mentioned.

    All bacteria are not harmful to our birds and by giving a Probotic after a course of antibiotics we can return our birds guts back to normal.

    Probotic is composed of freeze dried bacteria which can normally be found in the birds intestines. When added to water these bacteria come alive and help return the birds gut back to normal.

    It is very important that cleanliness and animal husbandry are practiced over and above the required if we want to keep our birds free from bacteria.

    Strep and Staph are difficult to diagnose, if suspected you will need an avian vet to take a bacterial culture before any cure can be offered.

    A dusty environment, poor seed, contaminated air and stress must be avoided if we want to control these bacteria’s.

    Diplococcus is another bacteria caused by stress and the presence of mice.

    Do empty your millet spray carton outside the birdroom just incase it contains any mice.

    Citrobacter is caused by poor water hygiene

    I do believe the message is simple if we want to avoid bacteria in our birds. Avoiding mice, stress, dirty water, bad animal husbandry, poor quality seed, and a dusty damp environment is the answer.

    A bird suffering from a bacteria infection will be fluffed up , appear depressed , at times excitable , weight loss , dull plumage and may also seizure or convulse, this may appear to be a stroke.

    Penicillin/Amoxicillin type antibiotics are usually prescribed for this type of infection, though your Veterinarian may prescribe one of the

    Tetracyclines.





  15. #15  
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    Beak and Feather Disease also known as PBFD


    This dreadful disease is caused by a circovirus. It has a wide species range and is a deadly avian disease that may not show any symptoms.



    The virus will attack tissues of young birds including skin, feathers, beak, oesophagus and the crop.
    Organs of the immune system such as cloacal bursa, thymus and bone marrow if attacked can result in depression of the immune system which then leaves the birds exposed to secondary infections. Infections of the feathers and beak will produce growth deformities.


    PBFD can affect birds of any age, but is more commonly seen in young birds. Many older birds can suddenly turn up positive for the virus as this disease is very contagious


    Obvious symptoms of PBFD are feather problems that look very much like French moult, bald patches on the head, missing primary wing feathers and/or tail feathers are obvious signs.
    The bird may have a beak that is deformed, especially the upper beak, and often overgrown; the beak usually splits or breaks.
    Feathers look half developed and ragged; birds will eventually lose most of their feathers and then die of a secondary infection.


    The virus may survive for many months or even years in feather dust, faeces, or nest material. Infection can be spread easily therefore by inhalation of infected feather dust or dried faeces. It can be carried on clothes, feeding and cages


    It is very resistant to many disinfectants

    .
    PBFD is extremely contagious and there is no known cure and vaccines are only now being developed. Birds carrying this disease may not show any symptoms until stress brings it out, but they may infect other birds before they become symptomatic.



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