Friday, February 1, 2013
Avian Colds or Pneumonia and What To Do
I am not a veterinarian, so an avian vet is your best bet if your bird is ill. However, in many areas like mine there isn't a vet available with any experience of pet birds. Or, your bird may get sick at night or on a weekend or holiday when your vet isn't accessible.
My grandfather raised budgerigar parakeets and taught me this simple help for birds whose breathing is hampered. If the symptoms are spraying water from their nostrils, coughing, sputtering, that sort of thing...they have a cold, which can quickly develop into pneumonia. When I was 21 years old, I moved a tame blue budgie, Captain, from Virginia to North Carolina in November. It was cold and, in spite of the fact that he was in a warm car, getting in and out probably caused several drafts. I was too young to realize I should have covered his cage to protect him from them. He developed pneumonia.
Here is what I did and, thanks to my grandfather's wisdom, Captain fully recovered. It's simple, yet makes a remarkable difference in a very short time.
I put him in a quiet corner, wrapped his cage in towels...you can do this with a small cage...or move the bird to a small one. I heated water to boiling, poured it into a china mug and stirred in a tablespoon of Vicks Vaporub. Then I put the mug under the towels, but OUTSIDE the cage. You don't want the boiling water anywhere that it could hurt the bird.
The vapors from the mug are trapped under the towels and work their way into the cage where the bird must breath them. When the liquid cooled, I removed the mug and reheated it. When it was no longer "smelly and strong" I replaced the Vicks Vaporub with new. Repeat this procedure whenever the bird's breathing looks labored again.
A bird should immediately begin to breath better from the fumes and hopefully be healthy again within a few days. At a minimum repeat this procedure before you go to bed at night and upon rising in the morning...more often if you can. Be sure fresh water and food is always available. I'd put the bird's drinking water as far from the Vicks mixture as possible and change the drinking water often.
An exception: If the bird is coughing up a creamy sort of phlegm from it's beak and unable to eat, this might be canker and not pneumonia. The bird can strangle on this. I have other posts on this condition and what medicine to use. It is common in wild birds, and can be carried without noticing a problem in love birds, cockatiels, doves and pigeons, but is very serious in all varieties of parakeet. However, there are medications that kill the parasite that causes it.
May your birds always remain healthy and you never need to use this. But, if you do, remember that PRAYER is the best addition to any and all problems.
Peace and Blessings.