Monday, October 14, 2013

Psittacosis 101: What Parrot Owners Should Know

Also known as parrot fever, psittacosis is a dangerous infectious disease that's commonly carried by parrots and birds. Owners must watch over their parrot to identify signs of this psittacosis, as it can lead to death if left untreated. Whether you own a large Amazon Parrot or a small budgie, all species are susceptible to this contagious disease. The good news, however, is that owners can take certain preventive measures to help reduce the chance of psittacosis.

Symptoms of Psittacosis In Parrots

  • Lack of appetite

  • Watery stool

  • Ruffled feathers

  • Desire to pluck feathers

  • Eye discharge

  • Nasal discharge

  • Inflammation around the eyes

How To Reduce The Chance of Psittacosis In Parrots

So, what steps you can take as an owner to reduce the chance of psittacosis in your parrot? Like all viral diseases, parrots must contract it from an already infected parrot; therefore, it's best to keep your parrot at home and avoid any unnecessary contact with other parrots or birds. Some owners take their parrots practically everywhere with them -- including the pet store, park, running errands, etc. Unfortunately, this type of behavior only 'ups' your parrot's risk of catching psittacosis from an infected parrot.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), owners should "Never expose your bird to other birds that have not been tested for Psittacosis and quarantined for 45 days. It is
especially important to avoid contact with pigeons and other wild birds." In addition, they also advise owners against taking their pet parrots to the pet store for nail trimming, wing clipping and other grooming practices. If you need to groom your parrot (which your should on occasion), take them to an avian veterinarian to have the procedures done. Chances are they have a cleaner, more sanitary office which reduces the risk of infection.

Psittacosis Treatment Options

If you believe your parrot is suffering from psittacosis, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian immediately. Leaving this disease untreated can lead to devastating and potentially life-threatening consequences. Thankfully, veterinarians are typically able to treat it through a course of strong antibiotics, delivered either through drops in your parrot's water or under-the-skin injections. Depending on the severity of the disease, it usually takes a couple of weeks to clear up.

Note: psittacosis is contagious to humans. Symptoms include pneumonia, excess mucus productive, weakness, cough, headache and coma in rare cases. Psittacosis is transmitted to humans through contact with an infected parrot's fecal matter and/or mucus.