“A sick bird is a dead bird,” or so the saying goes. The truth is, however, a sick bird usually only dies if no one notices he’s sick. Veterinary care for birds has reached a point where many illnesses can be treated effectively – if they are discovered in time.
It’s pretty common knowledge that birds mask illness in an instinctive attempt to avoid predators. In reality though, birds are rarely capable of acting perfectly normal in the face of illness. With most sicknesses, subtle signs are usually displayed. The key to early detection of illness – and successful treatment – in pet birds is to learn to recognize some subtle signs.
Two categories of symptoms suggest the presence of a problem – behavioral signs and physical signs. Behavioral signs consist of changes in the birds’ routines, such as:
Physical signs are those characterized by the appearance of abnormal physical features including:
Nothing takes the place of appropriate laboratory tests in determining the significance of these signs. Immediate action is indicated when any of the above – or any other unusual symptom – is observed. Remember: If a bird is sick, every day that goes by is a lost opportunity to resolve the problem, and an increased chance that the condition will reach a point of no return.