Guarding against bird disease

Thankfully, with very basic care birds are amazingly hardy and resistant to disease. For the most part, our avian friends don’t fall ill, but we can very easily make them sick. Changes of temperature, drafts, poor diet, failure to provide clean water, unsanitary cage conditions and the stress from bullying by other birds will wear down health, leaving birds susceptible to disease. The lack of a regular light schedule (keeping your bird up at night or turning lights on after sunset or before sunrise) is another stressful condition. Rodents and mosquitoes also interfere with a bird’s rest. Plus, these pests directly transmit pathogenic organisms. Canary pox from mosquitoes is a particularly terrible curse.

If your bird appears drowsy, DO NOT PUT MEDICINE IN THE WATER UNLESS THIS IS DONE ACCORDING TO A VETERINARIAN’S DIRECTIONS! A common scenario is for a bird not to have gotten proper rest. The owner proceeds to dose the water with some bad-tasting drug or concoction. The bird then stops drinking and dies.

To treat disease, a veterinarian generally needs to perform tests. Considering how quickly small birds can fail, one suffering from sickness might very well die before results are received. With ill or injured birds, immediately separate them (both to prevent contagion and to keep other birds from bullying the afflicted one) to a cage in a warm place. Place the food and water dishes where the bird can easily reach them. If the bird can’t stay on a perch, put the dishes on the cage floor. Very often, once the source of stress is eliminated, a sick bird will recover very fast.

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