Most Common Diseases in Australian Budgies

Most of the pathologies in Australian budgies are easy to solve, however, you should go for a check-up with a veterinarian for a timely diagnosis.
Most Common Diseases in Australian Budgies

Last update: 29 March, 2022

Australian budgies are one of the most common companion birds. This is because they aren’t too large, and are able to adapt well to their environment. In addition, they exhibit a fairly colorful green plumage, which together with the above makes them an excellent choice as pets. However, there are certain common diseases in Australian budgies, and we’ll look at them today.

The scientific name of this bird is Melopsittacus undulatus, which belongs to the Psittacidae family. In fact, this species is one of the closest relatives of parrots. Keep reading this article and learn about the most common diseases that affect Australian budgies.

Types of diseases in birds

Most of the diseases that affect birds are caused by their type of food or the quality of their habitat. However, there are a wide variety of pathologies that wreak havoc on the health of these beautiful animals. To facilitate their study, all these diseases can be classified as follows:

Mi pájaro se ha escapado: ¿qué hago?

What are the most common diseases in Australian budgies?

The common diseases in Australian budgies are very well known, as this species is one of the most popular as a pet. Thanks to this, the diseases can be listed so that other owners can be attentive to their pet’s health. The following are the most common diseases in Australian budgies.

Knemidocoptic mange (bird leg mange)

This parasitic pathology is caused by mites of the genus Knemidocoptes, which cause lesions under the scales of their legs. As a result, the birds have thickened skin (hyperkeratinized) that can grow to deform their appearance. The disease also affects the beak and eye area with the same symptoms as on the legs.

Diagnosis is made by physical examination to find the mite causing the disease. This is usually done by scraping the lesion and looking at it under a microscope. Once the diagnosis is made, the veterinarian will prescribe the use of an acaricide to solve the problem.

Iodine deficiency (goiter)

This disease is caused by a nutritional deficiency of iodine, which causes an enlargement (hyperplasia) of the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is located around the windpipe and produces hormones that are essential for growth. When affected, this causes the budgie to have problems in its development and obstructs the passage of air.

Depending on the severity of the case, the condition can be detected by touching the throat area. Apart from this, a blood test will be necessary to confirm that the thyroid is affected. The treatment isn’t usually complicated, as it only requires the use of food supplements. In general, the bird usually recovers within 5 days.

Diabetes mellitus

Diabetes mellitus is a disease caused by the body’s inability to use or produce the hormone insulin (hormonal condition). As a result, it causes the level of glucose in the blood to rise, leading to various organ and immune system disorders. For this reason, the birds are more susceptible to infections.

Australian budgies can be affected by kidney tumors that can lead to diabetes. In addition, the diagnosis must be made by means of various clinical tests including blood and urine samples. In terms of treatment, depending on the severity of the case, the administration of insulin and a change in diet may be necessary.

Chlamydiosis

Chlamydiosis is a condition caused by the bacterium Chlamydia psittaci, which causes a progressive general infection. Common symptoms include weight loss, ruffled plumage, eye or nasal discharges, lethargy, and, in some cases, respiratory complications.

This disease is usually easy to diagnose with appropriate clinical tests. However, chlamydiosis can also infect owners (zoonosis), so care must be taken with pet hygiene. As for treatment, the veterinarian may prescribe the use of antibiotics. Keep in mind that this disease can get very serious and can even cause the bird’s death, so try to take care of it as soon as possible.

Polyoma virus (avian polyomavirus)

This pathogen is recognized as one of the most problematic for newborn birds. The disease causes death in most infected chicks, but resistance develops in adults. As a result, larger birds become carriers of the disease. To become infected, it’s only necessary to have contact with the feces of an animal with the pathogen.

The diagnosis is complex and can be made through molecular tests, as the clinical signs of the disease aren’t very specific. In addition, there’s currently no effective treatment for this virus. This causes neonates to die helplessly, while adults usually survive without any problems.

Brown wax on the male

The sex of budgerigars can be recognized by the color of the wax, which is a structure found at the base of the beak, right next to the eyes. Females have this region of brown color when they’re in heat, while males always have blue or pink tones.

If the male suffers some alteration of his sexual hormones, the wax of his face can turn brown. This color change can be caused by tumors of the reproductive system, advanced age, or some other associated disease. It’s best to see a veterinarian to investigate the cause of the problem.

Newcastle disease (paramyxovirus)

This condition is caused by a paramyxovirus that’s usually very contagious. In fact, it’s very dangerous and is listed in the U.S. Terrestrial Animal Health Code, World Organisation for Animal Health. The most common symptoms are wheezing, sneezing, runny nose, loss of appetite, muscle tremors, and diarrhea.

It’s very important to emphasize that the severity depends on the strain that the bird is infected with. In addition, there’s no effective treatment to cure this pathology and you can only wait for the pet to recover on its own. As if that weren’t enough, this disease is also zoonotic and the owner is at risk of suffering from it.

Avian Coccidiosis

Coccidiosis is a disease caused by endoparasites of the genus Eimeria. This disease causes serious disorders in the digestive system, so the first signs are diarrhea, vomiting, and excessive thirst. As the case worsens, the bird begins to lose weight and looks droopy.

Diagnosis is usually made by coprological analysis of the feces. For treatment, drugs such as sulphonamides are often used, as well as probiotic-enriched diets.

Giardiasis

This pathology is caused by an endoparasite of the genus Giardia that causes intestinal problems in the bird. Among the most frequent symptoms are diarrhea with a bad odor, weight loss, and itchy skin. However, some birds can be asymptomatic and are able to infect other organisms without showing any signs of infection.

Fortunately, giardiasis is not a serious problem for the pet, as it’s easy to eradicate with proper treatment. However, in the case of newly hatched chicks it can be fatal if not treated properly.

Tumors (neoplasms)

Neoplasms usually occur in 16-24% of budgerigars visiting the veterinary clinic, although not all of them have a known cause. This problem is characterized by abnormal cell growth, which can cause different mild or severe clinical signs. Some of the most frequent tumors are the following:

  • Kidney tumors
  • Gastric carcinoma
  • Cloacal papilloma
  • Tumors of the gonads
  • Pituitary adenoma
A budgie about to bite.

Australian budgies can suffer from several types of common diseases. However, most of them are caused by poor care or bad hygiene habits. You have nothing to fear if you keep your pet’s environment in good condition. Despite this, remember that visits to the vet are an excellent way to ensure your pet’s health.

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