Note that a healthy bird on a good diet will only rarely get a bacterial infection. The bird can weaken due to stress, poor nutrition or poor husbandry. The normal bacterial population on a bird is different from humans, so some of the bacteria that humans normally carry, such as E. Coli, can cause infections in birds. (This is the reason why it is not advised to feed birds from your mouth)
chlamysiosis, ornithosis and parrot fever are all
the same name for an infectious disease caused by a chlamydial organism. Owners
of birds should be aware of their potential health risk as this disease is also
contagious to human beings.
Psittacosis can present with a variety of symptoms including runny eyes, sneezing, and congestion. Some birds have breathing-difficulties as well. Liver disease is one of the more severe presentations and can rapidly cause death. Psittacosis can incubate as an asympotomatic infection for years, thus a bird that seems healthy can suddenly develop symptoms and become ill. The variety of symptoms and the potential very long incubation period means that this disease must always be considered when evaluating a sick bird.
The disease is spread via feces, as well as being airborne, so it is highly contagious. To make the problem even worse, birds that are not clinically ill may also shed the organism.
In most human infections, psittacosis normally causes relatively mild signs that are described as a flu. Fevers, headaches, joint discomfort, and respiratory signs are often reported by humans infected from birds. However, the disease can cause death in extreme cases.
Aspergillosis is a fungal infection. The infectious organism is wide spread in almost all environments, so all birds are exposed to it, but only birds with immunospression or other problems get an active infection. There are some cases where the birds are most likely to be exposed to the greatest risk of aspergillosis. One example is with hand-fed chicks when they can aspirate some of the feeding formula into their airsacs, which then acts as a foreign body where the fungus can start to grow. Active infections are normally diagnosed via radiographs, endoscopy, and fungal cultures. Birds can also have an asymptomatic infection for years.
is a yeast that can cause infections in the mouth, crop and occasionally the
rest of the intestinal tract. It is most seen in young chicks, especially those
that have been treated with antibiotics as antibiotics disturb the normal
bacterial balance. The infections can be found as whitish plaques in the mouth,
which reveal the yeast when examined with a microscope. The birds will often be
not willing to eat due to the pain in their mouth, or they may have slow emptying of the crop.
Young chicks often fail to gain weight. This
infection is normally easily treated with an oral medication. Candida is not highly contagious, however, if
you use the same equipment for different chicks during hand-feeding, you could
transfer the infection. Cockatiels usually suffer this infection. Yeast infections have also
been associated with skin infections which can lead to excessive feather picking.
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