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Sneezing and Nasal Discharge in Birds

By: Dr. Barbara Oglesbee

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The type of discharge produced will usually vary with the cause. Serous discharges (clear, thin fluid) may be caused by environmental irritants, allergies or early stages of infectious diseases. Purulent (thick, yellowish) discharges or caseous (thick, dry) discharges usually are seen with infectious diseases. With severe disease such a fungal infectious or neoplasia (cancer) the discharge may become blood tinged. These types of destructive processes will often cause erosion or deformation of the nasal cavity.

Possible causes of sneezing and nasal discharge include:

  • Bacterial infections

  • Chlamydiosis – also known as Psittacosis or parrot fever

  • Aspergillosis- a fungus normally found in the environment which can cause severe, life threatening disease in pet birds

  • Candidiasis – a yeast infection

  • Viral infections

  • Hypovitaminosis A – low vitamin A concentration in the diet. Irritation due to low humidity

  • Build up of aerosolized dust and debris

  • Airborne irritants – such as smoke or aerosol sprays

  • Nasal tumors - cancer

  • Foreign bodies- objects such as seeds or food lodged in the nasal cavity

  • Allergies

  • Choanal atresia – a birth defect that prevents the nasal cavity from opening into the roof of the mouth

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