|Let's Celebrate Pet Birds!|
T.J. Lafeber D.V.M.
Signs of Respiratory Problems
Much information can be gained about the respiratory system by simply listening and watching. Unless you are an excellent observer and a keen listener, you probably have never heard a bird sneeze,
Sneezing is thought of in terms of our own experience. A person who is about to sneeze "winds up" with a deep inspiration, and then follows with a forceful noisy explosion of air out of the nose and mouth. Head movements and blinking of the eyes accompany this reflex.
Almost the opposite takes place with a sneezing bird. The sound produced would not attract any unusual attention. It could easily be overlooked as a normal sound, as it is soft and fast. In a room with moderate noise, it would never be heard. The bird's sneeze generates a sound somewhat similar to that of a noise made when a person snaps his moistened lips be gently blowing through them. Head movements and respiratory discharge are hardly detectable.
Sneezing occurs when there is an irritation deep in the nasal passage. It functions as a defense reflex mechanism to eliminate foreign material from the nose. The force of the sneeze aids in cleaning the nose.
Sneezing can always be considered a sign of a problem, and steps should be taken to remove the irritant, be it airborne or disease. Even though the sneeze of a bird is hardly noticeable, don't overlook this dependable sign.
A discharge collecting in the nares, on the feathers above the nares, or on the beak is prime evidence of a respiratory infection.
Coughs in birds sound like "clicks," "chirping" and "clucks." It would be much better for the bird if the cough was loud and raucous. Attention would then be directed to the problem especially if the bird kept his owner awake all night due to the coughing. Just as with sneezes, it takes a trained ear to hear its occurrence, Always consider it serious.
Loss or Change of Voice
A canary that sings hoarse or off-key is just as abnormal as an out-of tune piano. Generally, it isn't that the bird needs singing lessons or needs to be taught new lyrics. The problem is inflammation or infection.
Respiratory sounds associated with increased or labored respiration probably reflect a critical condition.
A description of other types of respiratory diseases and their complications would serve no purpose. The main thing to know is that they can happen, and if they do, consult a veterinarian immediately.