Did you know that most bacterial infections can be prevented through cleanliness? If you don't already, start practicing good sanitation habits. It's in your bird's best interest!
What Is A Bacterial Infection?There are a number of different bacterial infections that can affect birds, and these infections can affect any of the organ systems. The most common infections affect the upper respiratory tract or sinuses, intestinal tract and liver, the urinary tract, reproductive tract, and the skin and feather follicles.
What Are The Causes?Birds are more susceptible to bacterial infections if bacteria is allowed to grow excessively in their environment. Other factors that make a bird more susceptible to infection is stress, poor nutrition, or poor husbandry. Respiratory diseases are often caused by all-seed diets. Vitamin A is needed for a bird to function properly, and seeds contain very little vitamin A.
What Are The Signs?Depending on the infection, the signs in a bird will vary. In a respiratory infection, signs might include sneezing, nasal discharge, and inflamed eyes. If the sinuses are affected, there will be swelling around the eyes. Birds with infections involving the liver may suffer from decreased appetite, vomiting or regurgitation, diarrhea, or depression. Signs of a urinary tract infection include drinking a lot of water and excreting runny droppings. Birds may also lose weight even if they are eating normally.
Birds can also get bacterial skin infections. Picking excessively, losing feathers, or finding inflammation or redness around the feather follicle can be signs of a bacterial skin infection. Although feather-picking is not necessarily related to a bacterial infection, it could be a symptom. If your bird starts feather-picking, bring him to the vet to rule out any potential health issues.
How Can You Treat It?If your bird does get a bacterial infection, it can usually be treated with an antibiotic. These antibiotics could be in the form of oral antibiotics or drops. Improper diets will need to be slowly corrected, and vitamin supplementation will be needed if a vitamin deficiency is suspected.
How Is It Prevented?Good nutrition and cleanliness are the most important factors in prevention of disease. Keep your bird's cage clean and give your bird only enough food for one day. This will prevent bacterial growth on the old food. Frequent (at least daily) changes of your bird's water will help decrease bacterial growth because birds enjoy dunking food in their water, and this can lead to bacterial growth in the water. If you are unsure if you are changing his water enough, swipe your finger on the inside of his water bowl. If it feels slimy, bacteria has taken over. Many avian veterinarians recommend the use of water bottles because they eliminate the chance of droppings and food contaminating the water.
Prevention is a much better tactic than trying to treat a sick bird. Although you can't possibly anticipate everything, good sanitation will go a long ways!
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