8 Parrot Diseases That Will Have You Flying To The Animal Hospital

Parrots are for more than just pirates. These popular companion animals are members of many households throughout the United States. In fact, Petcha.com says that parrots are the third most common pet in the US. One difficult part of pet ownership that parrot parents must deal with is sickness in their precious birds. Here are 8 common health problems in parrots. 

Avian Flu

Avian flu is a potentially deadly disease in birds that can even harm humans. However, only one strain of the virus can be transferred from pet to person, and this disease is not common in birds that are kept in a home. Birds that were bought and sold by wild bird traders are more at risk. 

You can help protect your parrot and yourself from this sickness by washing your hands before and after handling your pet. 

Egg Binding

Female parrots can suffer when their eggs become stuck inside and cannot be released. Symptoms include an enlarged abdomen and excessive tail movement. 

If you believe your parrot might be unable to expel an egg, you should see a veterinarian. Your bird expert can help your parrot release the egg and find relief. 


Candida is a yeast that may occur naturally at low levels in the digestive tract of birds. However, too much can cause illness. If your parrot has an overabundance of candida, the veterinarian can prescribe anti-fungal medications. 

Proventricular Dilatation Disease

PPD is a very serious condition that can affect parrots and some other domestic birds. Birds with PDD will often have symptoms that include extreme weight loss and vomiting. PDD is hard to treat and is usually spread from one bird to another. 

Protect your parrot from PDD by keeping it away from other birds. 


This fungal infection is often caused by a moldy cage. Parrots with this respiratory affliction will often wheeze and cough. They may also experience pain and may need a heavy rotation of antibiotics and other treatments to get rid of the disease. 

Keep your parrot's cage clean at all times to avoid this disease. 


Polyomavirus is a disease that typically affects young birds. Many avian experts believe that older birds develop an immunity. 

This virus attacks the birds' entire systems at once, causing symptoms like weight loss, diarrhea, and often even tremors and paralysis. Polyomavirus can be dormant for several days before symptoms appear and is usually fatal. 

Liver Cancer

Malignant tumors can appear anywhere on your parrot, but the liver is a common area for cancer to occur. Cancer of the liver can be especially hard to diagnose early enough to treat, but sometimes cancers in parrots can be successfully fought with surgery or medication. 

Parrots may also develop cancerous tumors in the kidneys and other important organs. 


Psittacosis is a contagious disease that is passed to parrots from other birds. It is caused by bacteria known as chlamydiosis. It is often referred to as parrot fever and can include symptoms like red eyes, watery droppings, shallow breathing, and excessive shedding. Sometimes symptoms are severe, but more often they are subtle, so it's important to pay close attention to any changes in your bird. 

Psittacosis is treated with a round of antibiotics and aggressive follow-up care. 

A parrot can be an exciting addition to your life, but your parrot's health care must be a serious part of bird ownership. You can help provide your pet with a long and happy life by getting regular avian veterinary care and watching out for common diseases and conditions that can damage your bird. If your pet parrot shows any symptoms of these or other illnesses, see your veterinarian at the animal hospital right away.