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Welland Veterinarian Discusses Avian Influenza in Your Pet Bird

February 15, 2014

The bird flu is a respiratory disease found in pet birds, caused by the influenza virus. Both due to its serious effects on the bird’s health and the potential for transmission to humans, avian influenza is a serious health concern. Learn more from a Welland veterinarian below.


The avian influenza virus is spread between birds, mostly through direct contact with other birds or contact with nasal discharge or droppings of an infected bird. As mentioned, it can also be transmitted to humans, so it’s important to recognize the symptoms of bird flu and seek treatment immediately.


A bird afflicted with avian influenza will probably demonstrate a lack of appetite, swelling of the head, breathing difficulties, diarrhea, and depression. Nasal discharge and a discharge from the eyes will probably occur as well. However, some birds don’t display any symptoms at all, and can die suddenly.


If you notice any of the above symptoms in your bird, quarantine the animal immediately away from any other birds and humans. Call your Welland veterinarian to ask how to proceed—you’ll need to take steps to keep you and everyone in your family safe as you seek treatment for your pet.

Once your veterinarian examines your bird, he or she will be able to diagnose avian influenza with tests for viral infection. Depending on the specific virus infecting your pet, antibiotics, other medications, or alternative treatments may be required. Ask your veterinarian about all the possible treatment options for avian influenza. The sooner you call to get your bird treatment, the better chance there is for a full recovery.


While there is a vaccine against avian influenza, it works best in poultry birds and has had mixed success in pet animals. Ask your vet about the vaccine and if it’s a good option for your bird. At home, do whatever you can to avoid contact with other infected birds or contaminated materials, and keep your bird’s living environment clean and hygienic.