Recognizing disease

How do you recognize a sick cockatoo?

A cockatoo is sick if you can notice one or more of these symptoms:

By the way this cockatoo postures itself, it can be seen that it is sick.

The cockatoo is…

  • apathic
  • displaying a slowed response to what’s happening around him
  • keeping his feathers puffed up
  • keeping his eyes closed or sleeps a lot
  • having fluid running from its nose
  • having fluid or slime next to eyes or nose
  • breathing with noticable sound
  • refusing to eat
  • skinny or is losing weight

If you are looking into buying a cockatoo that shows one or more of these symptoms, it is better to wait with the purchase until the problems have cleared. Buying a sick cockatoo will only give you heartache and trouble. It can also be very expensive to find treatment for the bird.

Some symptoms on the list are worst than others. When a cockatoo refuses to eat or drink or is very apathic, you should consult a vet as soon as possible.

Diseases without symptoms

Sometimes a cockatoo or parrot has been infected by a virus, but is not yet sick. The bird can be a carrier for the disease, meaning it has the virus in its body and can spread it to other parrots, but does not appear sick. Diseases that are notorious for taking a long time for symptoms to occur in cockatoos are Polyoma PBFD, Psittacosis and Giardia. The immune system of a cockatoo that is carrier of the disease will keep the disease in check, but usually does not prevent the disease from spreading or from surfacing in the future. At some point the bird can get sick, but sometimes it will never develop symptoms and remain a carrier all its life.

You can do a blood test at a vet for some of these diseases. This will check for DNA of the viruses in the blood of the cockatoo, a very sure way to tell if the bird carries the disease. When you buy a parrot it is good practice to have a vet check the bird for the most common diseases. In that way you are sure you are buying a healthy pet. You will also protect other birds you may have from getting into contact with new diseases.