Sick Bird Symptoms: Lethargy / Weakness / Depression

Classic “sick bird” appearance

Index of Bird Diseases ... Symptoms and Potential Causes

Bird Species and Their Respective Syndromes (Lists diseases specific bird species are most susceptible to)



Other Symptoms

Causes for Lethargy / Weakness / Depression in Birds

Malnutrition: A parrot was presented with sleeping more than usual, being less lively and interactive with his owner. A blood test (CBC / Blood Panel) revealed that he was suffering from vitamin A and calcium deficiencies. The vet suggested adding a natural form of vitamin A (betacarotene) to his diet. The owner opened a capsule and coated his pet's seeds with it twice a week. Calciboost was also added to his diet to boost his calcium intake. Within a short, the parrot was back to his normal self.

Information on bird nutrition

Aspergillosis - Respiratory symptoms will be the first to occur but will depend on the location of the greatest areas of colonization. Difficulty breathing, rapid breathing and/or exercise intolerance are common. If the syrinx (= sound-producing vocal organ) is involved, a change in voice, reluctance to talk, or a "click" may occur. Nares may become plugged or you may see a discharge. Eventually, severe respiratory compromise may kill the bird.

Avian Goiter (Thyroid Hyperplasia or Dysplasia) - Has been observed in many species of birds, including pigeons, canaries, budgerigars, and wild birds. It is the most common disease of the thyroid gland in the budgerigar.

Canary Pox (Canaries / Finches only): Symptoms: Chronic Eye Problems / Proliferative Conjunctivitis / Keratis / Chronic Corneal Ulcers, Lid Depigmentation, Cataracts, Eyelid Distortion, Scar Tissue with Feather Loss on Head / Lethargy / Weightloss / Death. Topical application of astringent solutions such as mercurochrome or alcohol may be useful. Adenine arabinoside ointment a has also been recommended. Mild baby shampoo may be gently applied to any lesions around the eyes to remove scabs. Immune stimulants such as PEPE b and Echinacea may be of possible value.

Canker, Pigeon Canker, Trichomoniasis, Roup or Frounce: Affects pigeons, doves and hawks

Chlamydiosis: Common acute symptoms: Respiratory problems; such as sinus infection, labored breathing, shortness of breath, noisy breathing or "runny nose." General well-being: Eye discharge or swelling. Lethargy, ruffled / fluffed-up feathers, loss of appetite, weightloss, weakness. Dehydration, polyuria (excess urine); diarrhea or yellowish, grayish, or lime green urates

Conure Bleeding Syndrome (CBS) appears in Index of Conure Species with rapid onset of weakness and somnolence.

Egg Yolk Peritonitis: Sudden death, loss of appetite/anorexia, weakness, depression, respiratory distress, lethargy, fluffed feathers, lack of vocalizations, yolk-colored droppings, swollen vent and/or abdomen (the swelling feels spongy to the touch), and ascites. Some of these symptoms also mimic egg binding. Ascites is most commonly seen in cockatiels and waterfowl.

Gallid herpesvirus - Occurs in pheasants / poultry.A previously unexposed flock will develop cases for two to eight weeks following introduction. The incubation period is two to eight days. Symptoms include coughing, sneezing, head shaking, lethargy, discharge from the eyes and nostrils (sometimes bloody), and difficulty breathing. It is widely viewed as one of the most contagious viruses that affect the poultry industry. A confirmed case will usually result in the establishment of a quarantine zone around the farm. Inside this quarantine zone, poultry workers will avoid poultry farms to prevent the spread of the virus.

Giardia: Possible symptoms: feather plucking; acute, chronic or recurrent diarrhea (a bad odor and lots of mucus may occur with the diarrhea); depression, lethargy, anorexia and weight loss, and even death, if untreated.

Heavy Metal Poisoning - common in pet birds that chew on inappropriate items: - Symptoms: feather picking, depression, gastrointestinal stasis, intermittent lethargy, seizures, dysphagia, ataxia, increased thirst and urination, loss of balance, dehydration, weightloss, green or bloody diarrhea and death.

Salmonellosis / Salmonella: Sick birds may appear thin, fluffed up, and may have swollen eyelids. They are often lethargic and easy to approach.

Poisoning / Toxicities


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Information contained on this website is provided as general reference only. For application to specific circumstances, professional advice should be sought.



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