Diseases of Australian Parakeets


Animal file: Parakeet

The Little Australian parrots They have long been one of the most common companion birds in our homes, and although their origin is the other end of the world, few can say that they have never entered a house where there were a couple of these colorful birds.

Although we associate them with longevity and sociability, life in captivity also takes its toll, and although it is increasingly common to find them as patients in veterinary clinics, more pathologies due to improper management also appear. Therefore, in this article of Animal Expert, we will try to summarize the most common diseases ofLittle Australian parrots and how to prevent them, as a fundamental part of an adequate action plan.

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The genus mite cnemidocoptes is responsible for this disease so common in autralian parakeets, which causes hyperkeratosis or thickening of the skin of the legs and the wax of the beak.

Dermal overgrowths give the sensation of "extra fingers", as mentioned in the Expert Animal article on canary mites, and can deform the animal's beak if it progresses without treatment.

A scraping of the lesions allows this mite to be observed under a microscope, which leads to diagnosis along with the characteristic lesions.

How is it treated?

The ivermectin It is the most effective treatment, and can be administered intramuscularly, subcutaneously or even orally. In case the scabies is very localized, and in initial phases, it can be applied topically, transported in some oil, such as tea tree, but it is difficult not to exceed the therapeutic dose in this way.

It is recommended to repeat after a couple of weeks, and a third dose may even be necessary.

Iodine deficiency

The lack of iodine in the diet can affect the parakeets that exclusively consume little varied seeds, especially when the most abundant fraction is millet. Its low contribution of iodine in a sustained way over time results in a lack of this fundamental element to synthesize thyroid hormones by the thyroid gland, that is, a secondary hypothyroidism.

This gland hypertrophy in an attempt to maintain the production of thyroid hormones, causing the typical neck bulge known as "goiter." We can notice the lump, and signs such as changes in the voice, difficulty breathing, or regurgitation of food, because the excessive growth of the thyroid causes compression of the trachea and esophagus.

How can it be prevented?

A varied diet and in which it is avoided that the animal chooses what it likes most is essential to prevent the development of this common disease in Australian parakeets. Certain vegetables contain enough iodine, so offering the animal these foods two or three times a week guarantees that this problem does not occur, regardless of a balanced diet. The spinach or lettuceThey can be an interesting food if it is provided twice a week, removing the excess after a while and avoiding abuse. For more information, do not miss the list of fruits and vegetables good for parakeets.

Infection by Chlamydia psittaci It can be subclinical, being our parakeets carriers without symptoms, but usually develops in any stress situation (overcrowding, change of environment, disease, lack of hygiene.). This bacterium is excreted through feces, urine, naso-pharyngeal and nasal secretions, and can generate chronic carriers that eliminate it intermittently and transmit it to the environment, infecting its congeners.

What are the symptoms of avian chlamydiosis?

Respiratory and sometimes hepatic signs will be indicative, along with other findings, of this infection:

  • Conjunctivitis
  • Shortness of breath (shortness of breath, open beak)
  • Breathing noises
  • Biliverdinuria (green stool and urine, indicating liver involvement)
  • Diarrhea
  • In severe cases, apathy, lethargy and anorexia


For its diagnosis, the observation of symptoms is combined with specific tests, such as a serological test in which elevation of immunoglobulins M is measured, or a laboratory technique called PCR, which evidences the genetic material of the bacteria present in feces and pharyngeal exudate of the parakeet.

Taking blood samples It is usually very helpful, an increase in leukocytes can be observed, and in biochemistry, liver parameters are usually elevated. Not all infections due to Chlamydia they are equally serious, it depends on the serovar of the bacteria (there are many "races" within what we know as Chlamydia), and often remains as a chronic infection in the form of constant respiratory problems, for example.


The use of doxycline, an antibiotic from the tetracycline family, is the most effective treatment known to treat this very common disease in autralian parakeets. It should be administered for about 45 days, being able to use the intramuscular injection of the compound for humans, although it causes a lot of damage to the tissue (necrosis). It is reserved for serious cases in which aggressive initial treatment is required. However, if there is no other way, you can opt for a doxycline injection every 7 days, about 7 weeks in a row in the pectoral muscles.

The form of treatment of choice is the oral route, directly at the peak with doxycycline syrup, although it would serve to add the powder resulting from crushing doxycycline tablets in the seed mixture, using some oil so that the powder adheres to the surface of the same.


Avoid stress, loaded and unhygienic environments, bird overcrowding, and the introduction of new individuals without quarantine or of unknown provenance, is essential. Cleaning is again the key ally at this point.

Remember that people who work with groups of birds, veterinarians, or people with intimate contact with parakeets (owners of a large group), may be affected by this bacterium, which is considered a zoonosis.

Internal parasites

Internal parasitosis is not common in our companion parakeets, but it can be observed in birds that live on landfills with land and in large communities.

  • Microscopic parasites: as Giardiaor Coccidia they can affect our parakeets, resulting in typical intermittent or acute diarrhea, dirty sewer plumage, weight loss, apathy. A stool examination under a microscope allows you to observe the Giardias or the reproductive forms of COccidentrespectively. The isolation of the sick animal, a thorough disinfection, and the treatment of the affected bird with toltrazuril (Coccidia), and metronidazole or fenbendazole (Giardias), plus the necessary support therapy, can solve the problem if caught on time.
  • Macroscopic parasites: Ascarids may be the most frequent in parakeets, but it is not very common to observe them in captive birds. These intestinal nematodes (roundworms) can cause diarrhea and weight loss, as well as slightly lustrous and dirty-looking plumage. In the microscopic examination of the feces it is easy to detect their eggs, and treatment with ivermectin or albendazole or fenbendazole is usually a very effective option.

Reproductive problems

Like all birds, laying disorders can occur in females, such as chronic setting, or problems in the formation of the eggshell that causes breakof the egg in the abdomen and consequent peritonitis.

The chronic setting is complicated to handle, it is tried to reduce the hours of light, moving the female away from the male (without seeing or hearing it), but the most effective is usually a hormonal implant which inhibits the hypothalamus-pituitary-gonad axis. That is, to stop the ovarian activity. It lasts a few months, is variable and requires sedation for placement, but sometimes it is the only remedy for this dangerous alteration.

The consequences of a dystocia (impossibility of performing), due to an excessively large egg, or breakage of the egg inside the abdomen due to weakness of the shell, it causes peritonitis, or celomitis when we talk about birds, which implies a full-blown urgency, and from which few birds manage to recover.

As signs, we can observe bloating, anorexia, apathy, lethargy. all of them very nonspecific and that require an examination by our veterinarian to determine their origin and treat them properly, although the prognosis in these cases is not very favorable.

This article is purely informative, at we have no power to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any kind of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian in case he presents any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Most common diseases of Australian parakeets, we recommend that you enter our Prevention section.

10 Diseases of Australian Parakeets

Like any other bird, Australian parakeets are attacked by most common diseases. These diseases are usually related to the type of food and the environment in which they are found. Also the relationship they have with other birds that could transmit a disease at any time is of importance.

This is a disease common to all birds and humans too. This is caused by the lack of enough iodine. What increases the thyroid gland and ends up changing the voice of the parakeets to a poor and deep voice.

There are many types of tumors to which a parakeet is vulnerable. Most of them can be serious at any stage. Some of the most common tumors are fatty tumors, in the kidneys, adrenal tumors and testicular tumors among many others.

7.- Australian parakeet fever

It is one of the diseases of Australian parakeets. It is serious because it can be transmitted to adults. Once this disease occurs, the parakeet is isolated to a private space so as not to infect the rest of the parakeets and humans who are not aware that they have this disease.

9.- Psitaciform disease of the beak and feathers

This causes a bad formation of the flight feathers and tail (often in combination with polyomavirus). Affected birds are often referred to as climbers because they do not have flight feathers and therefore cannot fly. This is another of the diseases of Australian parakeets.

10.- Wax brown hypertrophy.

It is a hormonal imbalance of older female parakeets. It can be compared with a cold on the mucous surface and occurs in many types of chronic diseases. Apparently it is not caused by a local infection. Ideally, treatment involves finding and treating the underlying cause. The wax should also be treated by collecting the piled material and applying a little oily lotion.

What to do when your Australian parakeet is sick?

Now that we know some of the diseases of Australian parakeets, we must know what to do when they occur. Know some points of interest on how to treat a sick parakeet.

Budgies tend to hide the fact that they are sick. By the time you notice that your pet is not feeling well, it is most likely that he has been fighting a disease for a while. And it sure has become something so advanced that it can no longer hide it.

It is important to recognize the symptoms so you can help your little friend on time. The symptoms that should trigger your concern are respiratory problems, dry or inflamed nose, abnormal or bleeding feathers. In addition to this if we see him fall head first, lethargic and weak and unable to perch. Vomiting, weight loss, detectable lumps or swelling and discharge of the eyes, beak or nose can also be observed.

These are all signs of a critical illness and you should see a bird veterinarian immediately. Symptoms such as loss> A symptom to be seen in male parakeets is a change in the color of the wax, the nose, from blue to brown, which could be a sign of testicular cancer.

Heat and humidity

Birds have a fast metabolism, spend a lot of energy and resources that maintain body temperature around 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Keeping your parakeet sick with a heat between 85 and 90 degrees, will help free resources from your body to fight disease. But you should watch closely and turn down the heat if it seems too hot.

Once you are better, lower the temperature little by little, about 5 degrees per day, until you return to room temperature. For respiratory diseases, it is important to provide moisture with a vaporizer or humidifier. If none of these are available, place your cage in the bathroom and run a steam shower of hot water throughout the space.

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Food and liquids

A sick parakeet may not drink more water than its body needs while it is sick. To prevent yours from becoming dehydrated, use a syringe, dropper or finger to give fluids on a regular basis. You can use electrolyte solutions for babies as they are a good option. Like apple juice, grape juice or boiled water sweetened with some honey.

Avoid Gatorade because of its high salt content. Make sure he keeps eating during his illness, even if he has to feed him by hand or by force through a syringe. Without regular feeding, a sick bird can starve to death in a short period of time.. The best foods for a sick bird should be easy to digest and high in carbohydrates, such as baby food or baby rice cereal.

Rest and recovery

Provide your sick parakeet with peace and tranquility. Do what you can to facilitate rest. You can place your cage in a quiet room and remove your toys and anything you can climb on. If you share the cage with another bird, place it in a separate and isolated cage during your illness. Keep your room in gloom and limit activity as much as possible.

If the veterinarian prescribes antibiotics or other medications, make sure you take the full treatment, even after it seems to feel better. Just as birds try to hide their disease at the beginning, they will also try to look better towards the end of it. Although they still need time to heal. For this reason, when you return your parakeet to its normal routine keep it guarded.

Basically, many diseases can be avoided by providing adequate nutrition to the parakeet and a clean environment.