Beak and Feather Disease
Lovebirds are one of the species who are most at risk from PBFD (Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease). This is a circovirus that infects, and then kills the cells that make up the feathers and beak and also has a devastating effect on the immune system, which can lead to the bird contracting other infections.
Symptoms may include, feather and beak abnormalities, missing feathers, diarrhoea and loss of appetite.
The abnormalities in the beak and feathers are the main visual sign that something may be wrong and can include overgrown upper beak, deformed beak shape or a beak that is prone to splitting and breaking, short, clubbed feathers, curly feathers, narrow shafts which are prone to breaking or deformed feathers.
PBFD can be fatal, or can bring on another infection that is fatal in its own right. It can be passed from bird to bird so any bird that may have it should be quarantined away from others immediately. This disease can be carried on our clothes if we are handling an infected bird, and can go on to infect any other birds we may come into contact with.
If your bird has PBFD, do not bring home any healthy birds. There is no known cure but vaccines are being developed to help prevent infection.
Chronic egg laying
Laying more than the normal amount of eggs per year. The main problem with chronic egg laying is that the hen will deplete her calcium supply laying eggs leading to a deficiency thus making her ill. Deformed eggs, and odd marking on the eggs shell can indicate a calcium deficiency.
If you notice a deformed egg laid, it is important to get your hen to a vet as soon as possible for a calcium boost.
This condition is caused by lack of calcium and can cause brittle bones and seizures. Furthermore, this can also cause egg-binding, the lack of calcium cause the uterine walls to fail to push out the egg resulting in it getting stuck. This is something that needs medical attention immediately as this can result in death if the hen does not receive help and the egg is not removed.
(Giardiasis) This is a protozoal infection, a parasite that lives in the intestinal tract. The parasite can be found in drinking water and can live in birds, humans and other animals. Giardia can survive for a substantial amount of time in the environment, so infection can occur when a bird is placed in a contaminated environment. The parasite is believed to interfere with absorption of nutrients and fat metabolism and can result in death if left untreated.
Symptoms include intense itching, feathing plucking, licking non-food items like perches and toys, dry skin, depression, lethargy, and anorexia.
This is a fungal infection that infects the respiratory tract but also spreads to other organs at various stages. If caught early enough it can be controlled with anti-fungal medicine.
Typically affecting young birds, this disease is passed through the respiratory tract. Symptoms are delayed crop emptying, loss of appetite, feather abnormalities and bleeding through the follicles. If caught early enough, this can be treated.
Other bacterial infections including pneumonia
Psittacosis refers to any infection or disease caused by Chlamydia psittaci, one of several microorganisms in the genus Chlamydia. This disease can be transmitted from infected birds to humans. Parrot disease, parrot fever, ornithosis, and chlamydiosis are other names for psittacosis.
Infected birds are asymptomatic (show no symptoms) until they are stressed and then it causes puffy and swollen eyes (conjunctivitis), lethargy, weight loss, fluffed feathers, nasal discharge, enlarged liver, diarrhea and respiratory issues.
Psittacine Pruritic Polyfolliculosis (PPPF)
This is a malformation of the follicle in which multiple feathers (2-6) grow within one follicle (12 feathers in one follicle has been reported). This condition seems to make the bird itchy and affected birds often become feather pickers with feather damage and balding in the affected areas; bleeding or evidence of self-trauma may be present. Polyfollicles are usually found on the neck, thigh and/or ventral (underneath) sides of the wing though they can be found on any part of the body.
It is suspected to be caused by a virus but this has not been confirmed. There is no specific treatment for Polyfolliculosis. All treatments are considered "bandage" solutions, as they are not a cure and do not address the underlying cause.
Lovebirds are also prone to feather plucking, sarcocystosis and deficiency in vitamin A
**When bringing home a lovebird, it is important to have them tested for PBFD, Psittacosis and Polyoma by your avian vet.
If you have other birds, it is imperative that you quarantine the new bird until your avian vet receives the test results and that a full month (at least) has passed with no signs of illness.**