|Home Page||Zebra Finches||Bird Diseases|
Due to their rapid metabolism birds are particularly susceptible to many diseases: if the illness impairs sufficient feeding they soon start ailing and die. Thus, a quick diagnosis and therapy is essential for a successful treatment. The following table therefore lists the most frequent symptoms and causes as well as promising first measures:
|Symptoms||First Diagnosis||(Immediate) Measure|
|Wing is drooping, bird can't fly.||Broken wing||Have both wings taped to the body (34 weeks). Often the bird reamains unable to fly.|
|Leg is droopping from the perch.||Broken leg||Have leg splinted with a straw split lengthwise.|
|Bird is unable to balance on perch or resting on belly and hopping falteringly.||1. Broken leg;
2. Partial paralysis.
|1. Broken leg: see above;
2. Vitamins against paralysis.
Can egg binding be ruled out?
|Bird gets tangled e. g. on wire mesh when flying off or in nesting material||1. Overgrown nails;
2. Wrong or overly long nesting material.
|1. Trim the nails;
2. Replace wrong nesting material.
|Toes are discoloured or swollen.||1. Gangrene (due to injuries, frostbite, overly tight bands);
2. Inflamed joints, infection.
|1. Avoid the cause, clean and apply a disinfecting salve to toes, amputate if necessary;
2. More movement in a spacious aviary!
|Toes or legs are crooked / deformed.||1. Rickets, lack of movement or vitamins;
2. Inflammation of the joints
|1. Food rich in vitamins, vitamin preparation;
2. More movement, i. e. a larger aviary!
|Legs and toes are thick with prominent scales.||1. Excessive growth of keratinous tissue due to vitamin and mineral deficiency;
2. burrowing mites (mange).
|1. Remove the excessive tissue carefully with a nail file, improve the diet;
2. Apply a preparation to the tissue.
|The bill is deformed.||see above||see above|
|The bird is lethargic, lame, twitching and staggering, twisting the head.||1. Concussion;
2. Vitamin deficiency;
3. Infection, poisoning;
4. Genetic deficiency.
|1. Let the bird rest in a hospital box and wait;
2. Improve the diet;
3. Try to find the cause, isolate the bird, have it treated (antibiotics).
|The bird is nervous, pecking at feathers, scratching itself violently, restless even at night.||Ectoparasites: Red bird mites, feather mites, lice||Dust or paint the plumage with a safe (!) insecticide; clean and thoroughly disinfect the aviary including perches, nests etc.|
|The bird is lethargic, short of breath and exhausted after a short fligt.||Obesity, overly fat food and lack of movement||Avoid oily seeds and animal proteins (e. g. egg yolk); more movement!|
|The nostrils are plugged or slimy||1. Cold;
3. Poisoning by vapors.
|1. Add warmth;
2+3. Isolate the patient in a hospital cage to protect the other birds; possibly antibiotics.
|The bird is breathing heavily and noisily with bill wide open.||1. Cold;
3. Airsac mites and other parasites.
|1. Add warmth (in hospital cage);
2. Isolate in hospital cage, antibiotics;
3. Use safe insecticide strips (according to instructions!), replace soil in outdoor aviaries.
|Runny droppings, diarrhea||1. Intestinal disorder;
|1+2. Shine an infrared lamp on the bird;
3. Isolate in a hospital cage, antibiotics;
4. Disinfection, sulfonamides.
|The female is pressing fruitlessly, exhausted, short of breath, and lame in the legs.||Egg binding||Use an infrared or heat lamp;
let the bird rest;
have an expert remove the egg.
|Oviduct hanging out of cloaca||Prolapsed oviduct||Mortal danger! Perhaps the oviduct can be pushed back.|
The previous table often gives only shortened and general hints and first-aid-recommendations,
thus, it does not replace the purchase of a book on bird diseases or even a visit to the vet.
|© Hans-Jürgen Martin, 1st October 1997 |