You do it. Your dog does it. But when your parakeet explodes with a sneeze it can take you off guard. Birds do sneeze, though, and it's usually caused by the things that make everyone else sneeze: dust, dry air or illness. Maybe there's something the vet can do to help.
An Avian Vet Can Help
If your parakeet sneezes a lot, take her to see her vet. Avian veterinarians are bird specialists. Your parakeet's vet is the best one to determine what is causing her to sneeze, and can prescribe antibiotics or other medication to treat her. If the bird sneezes once or three times and is done, that's no biggie. She probably just had a tickle in her nose. If she repeatedly sneezes or sneezes regularly over a period of days, it's vet visit time.
Do Your Part
It's worrisome when your feathered friend is feeling under the weather, and constant sneezing will do nothing but increase your anxiety. You can do your part to help the vet diagnose a cause for her ailment and treating her. Make a list, jotting down anything abnormal you've noticed other than sneezing, such as changes in behavior, elimination, eating habits. Note changes in the environment at home. Keep the list handy to write down questions that cross your mind so you don't forget to ask them. It might sound distasteful, but bring along the paper from your parakeet's tray for the doctor to examine. It might just look like bird droppings to you, but your avian vet could see in them an indication of what is plaguing your parakeet. Once a diagnosis has been made and the vet has prescribed medication, follow his instructions to a T, administering the medicine as directed for the prescribed duration.
Nothing to Sneeze About
If you have allergies yourself, you might consider sneezing just a part of life. But daily sneezing by your parakeet is an indicator of a health issue. Sneezing could be a sign of bronchitis, bacterial infection or other respiratory illness. Continuous sneezing accompanied by other symptoms like difficult, rattled breathing, coughing, excessive swallowing, and discharge from the nose and eyes should be a red flag to get your parakeet to the vet right away. Once he knows what's causing your bird's sneezing and other symptoms he'll prescribe medicine and possibly a dietary supplement. If your bird isn't eating and drinking she will have to stay in the hospital for treatment.
Maintaining Your 'Keet's Respiratory Health
Once the vet has your parakeet's sneezing under control, keeping her environment clean will go a long way toward maintaining her respiratory health. Your bird sheds quite a bit of powdery dust, which can irritate her sinuses as well as yours. Clean her cage weekly and vacuum two or more times a week to keep the bird dust under control. Also consider getting a quality air filter to run in your bird's room.
- Avian Web.com: Sick Bird Symptoms: Respiratory Problems in Birds
- Avian Web.com: Bacterial Infections and Mega Bacteria / Megabacteriosis
- Budgerigars: Everything About Purchase, Care, Nutrition, Behavior, and Training; Immanuel Birmelin and Hildegard Niemann
- BirdChannel.com: Top 10 Pet Cockatiel Vet Questions and Answers
- ASPCA: Veterinary Care for Your Bird
- Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images