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Bird Allergies

It can be hard to determine if your pet bird has allergies, so consult with your avian veterinarian if you think your bird has allergies.

By Margaret A. Wissman, DVM
Posted: October 22, 2012, 3:00 p.m. PST

DESCRIPTION OF

Amazon Parrot
By Gina Cioli/BowTie Inc.
Amazon parrots sometimes suffer from seasonal allergies.  
There is no skin or blood tests available at this time to determine what a bird could be allergic to. Birds can develop allergies from food, molds and grasses, just like humans. Susan Club, DVM, stated in the January 2005 issue of BIRD TALK, that, “inflammatory skin disease in parrots is a reflection of underlying allergic or some other unknown systemic inflammatory disease. The predominant clinical sign is plucking or damaging the feathers. In severe cases, birds might mutilate the skin as well. In many of these birds the skin looks inflamed, but not in all cases.” It is believed that some non-dusty birds (New World psittacines) are allergic to birds with lots of powder down, such as cockatoos and cockatiels (collectively Old World psittacines). Keep these birds in a separate room. Purchase a good HEPA air purifier.

IMMEDIATE CARE

In the case of a food allergy, you may want to switch to a pellet diet that is hypoallergenic. (Work with your avian vet to determine a special diet for your bird.) Also, you can eliminate item after item from the diet to see if the symptoms stop.

LONG-TERM CARE

Take your bird to an avian vet for a thorough checkup. This will include blood work and possibly feather follicle biopsies. The vet may recommend an anti-inflammatory diet or drug therapy.

Disclaimer: BirdChannel.com’s Bird Health section 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 health if you suspect your pet is sick. If your pet is showing signs of illness or you notice changes in your bird’s behavior, take your pet to the nearest veterinarian or an emergency pet clinic as soon as possible.

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