A veterinarian looking at a sick bird.

It’s pretty easy to spot a healthy bird just from their physical appearance. They may appear bright-eyed and alert, engaging, clean, and active. While the signs of illness or injury might be noted by someone with extensive avian experience, birds are unlikely to reveal symptoms as a method of self-preservation. By the time you start to wonder if you have a sick bird, they may be in dire need of medical help.

Examining the Causes

The factors that determine overall wellness include diet/nutrition, hygiene, enrichment, exercise, age, and disease prevention/screening. Bird illnesses, on the other hand, might be related to their trauma, age, genetics, and environment. Whatever you see on the outside, such as their appearance and behavior, are mirrors of what’s occurring internally.

List of Red Flags

There are various signs of a sick bird that should never be ignored. If your feathered friend ever displays the following, please seek emergency care:

  • Seizure
  • Collapse
  • Bleeding
  • Obvious physical injury
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Extreme weakness

A sick bird must receive care by a trained avian veterinarian. Please call us at (913) 681-2818 for information on emergency hospitals with specialization in bird care.

Questioning Behavior & Appearance

In the absence of the symptoms listed above, there are other indicators that could help you decipher avian illness or injury. 

Take a look at their overall appearance. 

  • Are they huddled up or perching proudly? 
  • What is the condition of their feathers? If they are puffed up or shedding, they could be feeling ill. 
  • What are they doing with their head? If they are constantly seeking refuge inside the wing, or grabbing onto their cage with the beak, they may need some help ASAP. 
  • We also recommend noting any changes to the mobility, balance, sleeping, and vocalization. 
  • Take a look at the quality of their droppings. Any changes to their appetite should be taken seriously. 

How to Support a Sick Bird 

A sick bird may have discharge coming from the eyes or nostrils, discoloration,  or swelling. They may also be sneezing or wheezing, bobbing their head or slightly swaying. They may favor one leg over the other. If you’re at a crossroads about seeking emergency avian care, any departures from their eating and drinking habits may be all the proof you need that they need help. 

At the Ready

Many illnesses that affect a sick bird can be prevented with routine wellness exams. Your bird’s avian vet can address weight and diet needs, growth and development, appearance and health of the beak, claws, and feathers, and screen for various diseases. Annual blood testing can provide an understanding of organ health, and screenings can rule out different parasites and bacterial infections.

If you have additional questions about your sick bird or concerns about their long term wellness, call us at (913) 681-2818. Our team is always here for you at Blue Valley Animal Hospital