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Medical Conditions

Details for: Behavior > wheezing > Wheezing


Description: Wheezing in pet birds is described as breathing hard with an abnormal breathy sound, a click or a whistling sound either on inspiration or exhalation.

A common reason for a click, cheeping noise or squeak in budgies is because of enlarged thyroid glands putting pressure on the trachea. This is a very rare occurrence today because goiter (enlarged thyroid glands) occurred as a result of iodine deficiency, which used to be more common, but is not likely due to iodine supplementation in many products. Air sac mites are a common cause of abnormal breathing sounds in canaries and Lady Gouldian finches. Gapeworms, a type of worm found in the respiratory tract of waterfowl primarily, can cause abnormal breathing sounds, including a wheeze. Some overweight birds will develop a pronounced wheeze with exertion, exercise or excitement. Certain viruses may also cause respiratory signs, including a wheeze. Allergies, air pollution, irritants in the air, certain infections, peritonitis, tumors, nutritional deficiencies and foreign bodies in the respiratory tract may all cause wheezing.

Immediate Care: Place your bird in a well-ventilated room and see an avian vet for a full work-up to determine the source of the problem. Minimize stress to prevent increasing the respiratory rate until your bird has been evaluated by your avian veterinarian.

Long Term Care: If your bird suffers from a respiratory problem, follow your avian veterinarian’s advice for treatment and follow-up care. Try to maintain a healthy indoor environment for your bird. Do not smoke around your bird, do not use aerosols, and make sure that you have adequate ventilation, especially if you use a fireplace, candles or other items that might release particulate matter into the air. Try to keep the humidity at an acceptable level for your bird’s comfort, and run an air purifier with HEPA filtration to reduce particulate matter in the air.

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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