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Medical Conditions

Details for: Weight > Weight Loss

Weight Loss

Description: The weight of most birds will fluctuate by a few grams, for a smaller bird, to 10-20 grams for a large parrot, and this is considered normal. However, weight loss of 10 percent of the body weight or more, or if weight loss occurs with other signs of illness, such as the bird being fluffed up, not eating, passing greenish-black droppings, vomiting or diarrhea, then even a small amount of weight loss should prompt a trip to your avian veterinarian for a check-up and appropriate lab tests. It is important for all bird owners to invest in a good quality gram scale and to weigh their birds on a weekly basis to monitor for any weight gain or loss. It is impossible for an owner to tell the subtle amount of weight loss that may be significant for smaller birds, such as budgies, cockatiels and lovebirds.

Malnourished birds may begin to lose a significant amount of weight. Aside from the noticeable weight loss, your bird’s keel bone may become more prominent, indicating unhealthy weight loss. When the keel bone becomes more prominent, this indicates that the muscle mass is wasting or atrophying. Sudden weight loss could be the result of infections such as those caused by aspergillosis, mycobacteriosis (avian tuberculosis), intestinal parasites, other infectious diseases, metabolic diseases, endocrine disease, trauma involving the beak (affecting the ability to eat normally) or even cancer.

Immediate Care: If your bird experiences a sudden drop in weight, immediate veterinary medical attention is needed so that your avian vet can ascertain the cause.

Long Term Care: Weigh your bird on a regular basis (weekly at the same time of the morning each time) and keep a record of your bird’s weight. Purchase a good quality scale that weighs in grams (the metric system) and not ounces, because this will allow a more precise measurement. Do not use a food scale or postage scale, because as a rule, they are not as accurate. You won’t be able to ascertain subtle changes unless you have a quality scale.

Click on the body part or body system where your pet bird is having problems. For example, if your pet bird is experiencing diarrhea, click on Digestion.

If you don't know what is wrong with your pet bird, search by Sign. If your pet bird has already been diagnosed, search by Ailment.

Disclaimer:’s Diagnose Your Bird tool is intended for educational purposes only. It is not meant to replace the expertise and experience of a professional veterinarian. Do not use the information presented here to make decisions about your bird’s ailment. If you notice changes in your bird’s health or behavior, please take your pet to the nearest veterinarian or an emergency pet clinic as soon as possible.
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