by Jennifer B.
December 30, 2009
How to examine a bird's poop for signs of illness
July 21, 2010 12:37 PM EDTviews: 85
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One rather unpleasant aspect of bird ownership is learning how to read a bird’s poop for signs of illness. Most birds are able to hide their illnesses as a natural instinct to protect themselves from predators in the wild. By the time a bird shows physical signs of illness, it may be too late. Birds are delicate creatures and can expire quickly if an illness goes untreated in time.
By learning how to read a bird’s poop, a person can make a quick determination if the bird is ill before he shows any physical symptoms. Random poop sampling is always a good practice to ensure the bird is healthy, but if a bird is suspected of being ill, it is important to collect a poop sample to take along to the avian vet so that he or she may be able to examine it.
How can a person acquire a sample? If he's in a cage with other birds, isolate him from his companions. Place him in a clean, quiet hospital cage where he can rest. Put a clean, white paper towel on the bottom of the cage, which will make the droppings easy to read. The following morning during the cage cleaning ritual, remove the paper towel and put it in a disposable container for the vet visit.
How does a bird guardian read his pet’s poop? The first thing to know is how a healthy bird poop should look. Any deviation from the norm could mean potential health problems. A normal bird dropping consists of three parts: a coiled stool that is rich green to brown in color (depending on the bird’s diet,) the urates, which are the white bit on top of the stool, and the urine which is the clear liquid surrounding the poop.
Bird’s poop will vary in size, color and consistency from bird to bird. Once a bird guardian has gotten to know what is normal for his pet, he will be able to pick up on any inconsistencies and abnormalities in his friend’s bathroom habits.
What are signs of an abnormal dropping? These are things a person should look out for. If a person notices these changes, he should book an appointment with his avian vet ASAP.
• Undigested seeds or food in the droppings.
• Pale, foamy droppings which change in consistency throughout the day.
• Color change from green to bright green or black; droppings that are slimy in texture.
• Yellowish cerulean color to droppings. This could show the presence of bile in the stool, which could indicate liver disease.
• Yellowish or greenish stained urates.
• Loose, watery droppings which appear mushy and shapeless in texture.
• Increased amount of urine in the droppings, not to be confused with diarrhea. Feces will be the same, but there will be more fluid around the droppings.
Sometimes the change in a bird’s droppings is caused from stress or dietary changes. If those causes are possible, the bird guardian can remove the stress element and go back to the bird’s old diet, to see if there is an improvement in his poop.
If the bird appears listless, fluffed up, has changes in eating or drinking, has discharge from his eyes or nose, bobs his tail or shows any other signs of illness, don’t take a chance. Bring him in for an exam, and don’t forget to bring the poop sample along. Avoid the temptation of using pet store antibiotics, as they are usually weak and ineffective.
For a list of avian vets in the Metro Vancouver area, click here.
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