Respiratory disease is common in birds and can affect the upper respiratory tract or lower respiratory tract. Respiratory tract problems in birds can be caused by infection with bacteria, fungus, or parasites, from exposure to aerosolized toxins or environmental irritants, or from pressure on the respiratory tract from enlarged organs or tumors. Birds can have varying signs with respiratory disease, such as coughing, sneezing, ocular or nasal discharge, or difficulty breathing depending on where in the respiratory tract the problem lies. Teflon, when heated, emits an odorless and colorless gas that is fatal to birds if breathed in. Any bird showing respiratory tract signs should be examined and tested by a veterinarian as soon as possible so that appropriate treatment can be initiated. Administration of over-the-counter medications purchased at pet stores is not recommended for treating sick birds.
Seizures are reasonably common in birds and often observed in Amazon parrots, African grey parrots, budgies, canaries, finches and lovebirds. A seizure may result from any disorder in the brain that causes spontaneous electrical discharge in the nervous system.
Telemedicine is defined as the act of practicing medicine at a distance. Telemedicine can be offered in a number of different ways: telephone calls, text messaging, online chat, email consultations, and visits conducted through videoconferencing programs. Telemedicine is not appropriate for every concern, such as a pet hit by a car; however, a number of common veterinary complaints can be addressed via telemedicine (e.g., flea allergies, minor limping, mild diarrhea). While it is impossible to perform a complete, comprehensive exam during a telemedicine appointment, in many cases your veterinarian can gather enough information to arrive at a reasonable diagnosis and start treatment. If your veterinarian determines that your pet requires in-person care, your veterinarian can help you determine when and where your pet should be seen and may be able to give you an idea of what to expect during the in-person veterinary visit.
Wellness testing, performed routinely on apparently healthy birds, screens for underlying, inapparent problems. Veterinarians also use test results in conjunction with physical examination findings and the owner’s account of the bird’s history to diagnose illnesses. Blood tests include the complete blood count and chemistry profile. Other tests your veterinarian may use to assess your bird’s health and diagnose disease include Gram’s stain, culture and sensitivity testing, parasitology, X-rays, laparoscopic surgery, cytology, histopathology, virology, and genetic (PCR) testing. Post-mortem examination after a bird dies may be recommended to determine the cause of death.