Although cockatiels are generally healthy birds, they can still get sick and succumb to health problems from time to time. In this article I will discuss some of them. Most of these illnesses can be avoided by feeding your cockatiel a healthy diet rich in essential nutrients.
Giardia is caused by a protozoan called Giardia Psittaci. Signs of Giardia include weight loss, loose droppings, picking of the feathers (mostly under the wings), depression and loss of appetite. Giardia is a difficult infection for a vet to diagnose. Giardia is spread through contaminated food and water. If Giardia is left untreated, it can lead to other symptoms such as weak jaw muscles, slow eye blinks, poor digestion and overall decreased fertility.
To treat this condition, antiprotozoal therapy and supplemental vitamin E/Selenium are used.
Conjuctivitis is seen more in the Lutino cockatiels than in the greys. The eyelids of your cockatiel will look swollen, and there will be a discharge from the eyes. This condition is treated with topical ointments, but is usually recurring. This is usually a genetic thing, so avoid breeding with cockatiels that get conjunctivitis.
Candida is caused by the yeast Candida Albicans. Young cockatiels are particularly susceptible to this, especially when the diet is low in vitamin A. Symptoms of candida are usually white growths in the mouth and throat. Your cockatiel will show signs of regurgitation, vomiting and loss of appetite. Often candida can go unnoticed, and also can be spread in an aviary. To avoid this, it is best to make sure the cockatiels diet provides adequate amounts of vitamin A. A vet will prescribe antifungal drugs to clear candida infections.
4. Round Worms
Round worms are normally contracted from sand or dirt. They are two to five inches long and look like spaghetti. Mild infestations will result in loss of appetite, growth abnormalities and diarrhea. Heavy infestations will result in bowel blockage and eventually death.
Your vet will be able to diagnose round worms in the cockatiel’s droppings and prescribe a course of treatments to clear the infestation.
Sarcocystis is a parasitic disease, and is normally found in countries such as North America where there is a large opposum population. Sarcocystis is more prevailent in the winter months, and male cockatiels seem more susceptible to this condition than female birds.
There are usually no symptoms, as the cockatiel will appear healthy one minute and dead the next. The best thing to do is to prevent opposums from entering your avairies. Cockroaches can also carry this disease, by eating opposum feces, and then getting eaten by a cockatiel.
Papillomas are benign growths that can occur anywhere on a cockatiel’s skin. These are not normally a problem, but if they get picked at by your cockatiel, it is perhaps best to have your vet remove them.