Signs of a sick finch may include: refusal to sit upright (squatting on perch like a pigeon), tail or wings dropping, puffed up feathers, squinting, sitting on the cage floor, wet vent, irregular droppings or refusal to eat. Ailments birds can fall into four categories: Congenital defects from genetics; developmental problems as a result of injury, poor husbandry, malnutrition or improper incubation; Infectious disease curtesy of viruses, bacteria, fungi or parasites; and trauma, like fractures or leasions. Birds are great 'actors' and will not show weakness or signs of distress until it is too late. If you notice illness, take the immediate steps below:
* If you notice any signs of illness, contact your veterinarian. Weakness, labored breathing, collapse, seizures, or other nervous system signs are especially serious, should be considered emergencies, and need immediate attention.
Symptoms: gasping, wheezing, coughing or a change in voice for vocal birds.
Causes: fungal infection caused by mold.
Treatment: Good husbandry and antifungal such as itraconazole .
Symptoms: gaping mouth, cough and loss of voice. Air sac mites infect the respiratory system transferrable during breeding cycles.
Treatment: Insecticide containing ivermectin will eradicate the mite. Ensure you treat all birds and not just the infected.
Symptoms: Beak looks as if it is flaking, pale or cracked
Causes: Vitamin A deficiency/ Malnutrition
Treatment: Follow Advanced Nutrition
Symptoms: Wet vent (rectum) and diarrhea, lethargy
Cause: Parasite found in the intestinal lining easily transmitted to other birds through interaction and feces.
Treatment: There needs to be a diagnosis for this usually through a fecal slide. Sulfonamide is the preferable antibiotic for the treatment of Coccidiosis in water. When administering ensure the cage is cleaned daily with a product like F10 to prevent re-infestation.
Symptoms: swollen, irritated, reddened and/or crusty eyes.
Causes: Injury to the eye, Bacteria including Mycoplasma or Chlamydia , Virus or Fungi.
Treatment: Antibiotic like Tetratex, and probioticsto prevent yeast infection.
Symptom: lesion which breaks the skin.
Cause: Numerous causes, usually aggression related.
Treatment: Assess the severity, and then apply antibiotic such as Terramycin.
Symptoms: Female finches will show sign of discomfort on the bottom of the cage. If the egg does not pass, she will die.
Cause: Lack of calcium and beneficial fats. To absorb calcium, they must also have viable amount of vitamin D through natural sunlight.
Treatment: Give the bird a dose of Cod liver oil, a calcium supplement in the water, and a shallow warm bath. Placing coconut oil near the rectum may also help with lubrication.
Symptoms: Lethargic, puffed up feathers with diarrhea that may be a green color.
Cause: Fluctuation in temperatures, damp environments, constant drafts, viruses or exposure to bacteria (spoiled food).
Treatment: Broad spectrum antibiotics are available off the shelf at local pet stores are often a good idea after correcting the cause of the illness.
Number 1 cause of illness.
Symptoms: generally unwell, especially lethargic and may cause feather loss or flaking beak. Leaves bird more susceptible to other disorders.
Causes: Insufficient nutrients or calories. Correct immediately.
Treatment: Follow the protocol
Symptoms: Lack of feathers
Causes: Lack of feathers on head and neck are most likely the cause of lack of Vitamin D through sunlight. Feather loss on the remainder of the body is often attributed to bird aggression, protozoal infection, molting or malnutrition.
Treatment: Follow steps for Advanced Nutrition if it is malnutrition or molting. Observe the cage for aggression and other symptoms such as diarrhea and separate birds if necessary.
Symptoms: Worms will be present in the finches droppings and mouth. Type of worms include: Tapeworm, Threadworm, Caecal worm, Roundworm, Gape worm and Gizzard worm.
Causes: Exposed from another bird most commonly through direct contact of feces.
Treatment: A Broad spectrum all wormer containing Praziquantel and Levamisole.
Symptoms: Scaly like film over the skin from borrowing mites, can become fatal.
Causes: Transmission normally occurs through breeding cycles.
Treatment: In mild cases, the treatment of the bird with paraffin (also known as paraffin oil) or Aristopet Scaly face and leg treatment
Symptoms: depressed, yellow or bright green diarrhea, discharge from the eyes or mouth
Treatment: Amoxitex 5 day treatment
(followed by probiotic, and may need antifungal)
Symptoms: depressed, yellow or bright green diarrhea, losing weight or feathers
Treatment: Ronex or Ronivet-S
(followed by probiotic, and may need antifungal)
Prevention of common ailments is the key, and this can be achieved through self medication and good hygiene practices from bird owners. Taking small steps now can help prevent disaster later.