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Diseases Affecting Amazon Parrots

Here are some of the most common ailments of Amazon parrots. Remember that when a bird is sick, the minimum temperature to use is 85 degrees F. Any sick bird should be housed and given treatment in this heat until it has recovered.

[Photo of Double Yellow-headed Amazon]

Double Yellow-headed Amazon

Vitamin Deficiency

with vitamins deficiencies, small yellow pustules occur in the mouth, and on a lost bird these yellow pustules will be seen on autopsy of the esophagus. Add multi-vitamins to an Amazon's diet at all times to prevent occurrences such as this. Aspergillosis is caused by a fungus called Aspergillus fumigatu which invades the throat and the air sacs and lungs of the bird. Prevention is by feeding only clean seed. Don't let the seed get moldy. There is no completely adequate treatment once a bird has this disease. Do not use moldy hay or straw. This is a carrier of the organism. Amazons with this disease make a wheezing sound when breathing. They appear to have deep and severe respiratory difficulty.

Bumblefoot results in Amazons from a Staphylococcus infection. Drainage and then treatment with antibiotics will be successful. In bronchitis, serious nasal discharge occurs, accompanied by a severe respiratory difficulty. The Amazon becomes depressed and fluffs its feathers. The bird will eat fairly well during this bad period. Treatment is usually with approved antibiotics in water.

[Photo of Orange-winged Amazon]
Orange-winged Amazon

cataracts are a hereditary disease of the eyes, carried by a dominant gene. Fortunately, this is not often seen in Amazons. If taken to warmth in time, almost all birds with simple chill will definitely recover within 12 hours if put in a temperature of 85 to 90 degrees F. On occasion, one will see an Amazon in a convulsion. Almost always the convulsion is associated with a vitamin B deficiency. Prevent it first by administration the liquid multivitamins. Two mg of thiamine HCL daily will prevent further convulsions. Conjunctivitis occurs as a watery discharge from the eye, and the eyelids become swollen to the extent that temporary blindness occurs. Immediately apply an antibiotic ointment containing an approved antibiotic.

When constipation occurs, you must try to feed greens, particularly cabbage and lettuce. Two drops of castor oil can also be given by mouth. Crop binding occurs in young Amazons more often than adults. You should manipulate the crop to dislodge the binding. Give mineral oil by mouth; this will ease the dislodged material to the lower esophagus into the proventriculus and on to the gizzard. A bird with crop sickness vomits a watery fluid from the beak continuously. You should distinguish this behavior from normal actions between breeding Amazons. Acute cases can be treated with bicarbonate of soda.

Enteritis is actually an inflammation of the intestines. Causes are many; it could have a psychological cause such as extreme nervousness and excitement. Changes in diet or environment will cause enteritis. It might also have a nutritional cause, such as too much fruit, too many greens, deficiency of grit or coprophagy, which is the eating of other bird's droppings. Various infections will cause enteritis. Some of the worst are those caused by Salmonella, Pasteurella and Streptococcus. Signs include abnormal green and watery droppings which may be bloody. The feathers are ruffled and the Amazon is listless. Affected birds often have a pasty vent and wet feathers. Treatment is usually with broad spectrum antibiotics, B-complex vitamins and additional fluids. Home treatments include boiled rice water, which is extremely helpful.

Impacted Gizzard

Signs of impacted gizzard are similar to those of enteritis. Treatment is usually with increased fluid intake with 2 to 4 drops of mineral oil. Indigestion and vitamin deficiency can be related to the above. It often occurs from too much grit or gravel, which causes irritation of the intestine by overflowing through to the gizzard. The remedy is to remove the gravel and the condition will subside. Sometimes Amazons will ingest too much sunflower seed. Certain Amazons will stuff themselves and suffer later. Overgrown beak often is seen in older Amazons the upper mandible grows too long and often becomes distorted. It also may cross the lower mandible. You must take great care in trimming the beak. The parasitic mite causing scabies is Cnemidocoptes mutans. The mite attacks around the beak and legs which results in extra horny growth, with much scabiness and bleeding from chewing. Furacin ointment has been used on this condition with success.

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