Various Types of Eye Infections in Parrots

The eyes have it—take your pet to the vet at the first sign of eye swelling or ocular discharge.

The eyes have it—take your pet to the vet at the first sign of eye swelling or ocular discharge.

Your precious parrot is vulnerable to various bacterial and viral infections. Some of these ailments cause eye infections as the main symptom, while in others eye issues are secondary. Because vision loss occurs so easily, eye infections are always a veterinary emergency.

Mycobacteriosis

Also known as avian tuberculosis, mycobacteriosis is difficult to treat and often proves fatal. While primary symptoms include weight loss and diarrhea, parrots infected with the bacteria might also develop masses in the eye, as well as on other areas of the body and internally. Because mycobacteriosis is zoonotic, or transmissible to people, wear rubber gloves when treating or handling your sick parrot. Anyone who suffers from a compromised immune system should not handle the bird.

Psittacosis

Psittacosis, also known as chlamydiosis or parrot fever, might cause discharge from the eyes and nose. Other signs of infection include breathing difficulties, depression, appetite loss and no talking in an otherwise chatty bird. Your vet can prescribe antibiotics for your parrot, but you also need to isolate your bird from other birds in the household and keep his surroundings as stress-free as possible. Also a zoonotic disease, psittacosis in your parrot might have to be reported to your local department of health.

Salmonellosis

Salmonellosis, or an infection by some type of salmonella bacteria, primarily affects the intestines, but infected parrots might experience swollen eyelids or conjunctivitis. The latter is an inflammation of the eyelid's lining. Your vet will determine what type of salmonella is affecting your bird via a fecal sample. She'll then prescribe the appropriate antibiotics. Most parrots recover from salmonella infection.

Vitamin A Deficiency

Parrots lacking sufficient vitamin A in their diets display a variety of symptoms, including eye swelling and discharge. Secondary infections, usually respiratory and affecting the eyes, often occur because of the deficiency. Other symptoms include diarrhea, appetite loss, mouth abscesses, depression and tail-bobbing. While good-quality commercial seed and helpings of fruits and veggies rich in vitamin A prevent the deficiency, affected birds must be treated for any secondary infections. Just changing the parrot's diet isn't enough for a sick bird.

 

About the Author

Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.

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