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Parrots - Health Care Issues

Different types of parrots have different life spans. Depending on the species of parrot you own your bird may live from 10 to 50 years or even longer, if it is healthy. Lack of proper health care may shorten the life span of the bird. However, most illnesses can easily be prevented if you consult an experienced vet who will examine your parrot during regular checkups, and if you know how to recognize the signs of potential illnesses. All this will ensure your bird would live a long and happy life.

The Vetís Office

When you have purchased a parrot try to take him to an avian veterinarian who specializes in curing birds. If you donít know where to find such specialist consider checking out the Association of Avian Veterinarians (AAV) or the American Federation of Aviculture (AFA). The pet store where you have bought your bird may also be a good source for finding a good vet.

Choosing a Vet

When looking for a vet, make sure you visit the office of each prospective vet to figure out whether it would be convenient for you to bring your bird there. Pay attention to the working hours and find out how the office handles medical emergencies. The staff should be friendly and efficient and the vet should be experienced and willing to answer all your questions.

Regular Checkups

After the vet examines your parrot for the first time, make sure you bring your bird in at least once a year to check if it is in good health. Such regular checkups can also help prevent a serious illness as the vet will be able to notice signs of illness early. During the checkup, the vet usually examines the bird and weighs him as well as takes cultures from his vent or mouth and/or makes blood tests. To be aware of birdís physical condition consider asking your vet about the tests she is running during the checkup.

Signs of Illness in Parrots

Itís typical for parrots to hide the first signs of their illness. This natural instinct protects birds in the wild from attacks of the predators as the healthier they look, the more likely they are to stay alive. However, for a pet owner the ability to spot the signs of illness in the bird is crucially important as the sooner your bird gets the treatment the quicker he recovers. Below are some typical signs of illness common to parrots. If you noticed any of them in your bird, bring him to your vet as soon as possible.

Common Parrot Health Issues

Even though the illnesses the parrots may suffer vary depending on their species there are some diseases and health problems common to most birds, parrots including.


This fungal infection causes respiratory distress that can lead to the death of your bird when not treated. The disease requires long and difficult treatment. The illness symptoms include gasping or wheezing, or other changes in the parrotís breathing or vocalization. The fungal infections can be prevented if you stop or reduce the growth of mold that causes the illness by keeping your parrotís environment clean and dry.

Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease (PBFD)

This contagious disease is fatal to the bird. The symptoms are feather loss and beak lesions in its later stages. Although it can be diagnosed through blood testing, there is no cure and euthanasia is typically recommended.


Also referred as chlamydiosis or parrot fever, the disease often causes respiratory distress, but sometimes has no symptoms. As it can be transmitted to humans you had better get your vet to test your parrot for this disease. This is absolutely necessary if a person with poor immune system, for example, a baby or an elderly person comes into contact with the bird.