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Pododermatitis - bumblefoot in Parrots

First Aid: Pododermatitis What’s Normal?

Grooming and Health Assessment: How often do we really look at our bird’s physical appearance?

SONY DSCAnd what are we looking for?

What if you are unsure about something you’ve noticed on your bird? Do you call the veterinarian? You do if it’s critical!  These are questions that are easier to address with an understanding of what is normal and what is abnormal. While the best way to assess the health of a bird is typically through regular avian veterinarian checkups, documented observation and monitoring as well as routine grooming offer the avian caretaker an excellent opportunity to assess the health of the companion bird be it a pet or a breeder bird.

So, let’s take a look at a pododermatitis!

Pododermatitis – normal and not normal!

Evaluating a bird’s feet is critical and is one of the most often missed ailments that affect pet birds and especially breeding birds with mere casual observation. Perhaps it’s due to the fact that the bird is standing on his feet all of the time!

Pododermatitis or “Bumblefoot” can result in many health issues and the severity is rated by grades. The causes of the various grades of pododermatitis are often correctable by the avian caretaker.  Birds challenged with obesity, and lack of perch rotation are most certainly prone to bumblefoot condition. Other causes include diets low in Vitamin A & E, excessive use of grooming perches, lack of exercise, and exposure to cigarette smoke.

So, while the bird is securely wrapped in proper towel restraint and ready for his routine grooming, be sure to check the condition of his feet for signs of pododermatitis or “bumble foot.”  The following photos show signs of various grades of Pododermatitis as well as suggested remedies.

Bumblefoot grade 1

In some cases, it is advisable to consult your veterinarian. Do make a notation in your bird’s records. For further information on pododermatitis, please check with your avian veterinarian and check out Symptoms & Treatment of Bumblefoot in Parrots.

Bumblefoot grade 3

HARI Quaker Fledgling weighing in
HARI Quaker Fledgling Weighing In

Don’t forget that grooming is an excellent time to weigh your bird and record his weight!

A record of weights of a bird gives indication of “normal.” A variance in a bird’s average or “normal” weight is a sure sign that a bird might need a diet change or new exercise routine or in the case of unwarranted weight loss, a closer look at the bird’s current health condition.  Be sure to take this opportunity to evaluate your bird’s choanal papillae! Have your tools & suggested supplies from your HARI Approved First Aid Arsenal ready before beginning your own health assessment! And, don’t forget to make a record of his feet!

Melanie Allen

About Melanie Allen

Melanie got her start with Parrots in the 1980's with her first parrot, a purchased yellow-naped amazon - who suffered from chronic health issues that stemmed from poor nutrition and inadequate care. Melanie also served as president of Florida Federation of Aviculture, Inc., as a Board Member for National Parrot Rescue & Preservation Foundation, and on the American Federation of Aviculture Nomination Committee. Today, she works closely with aviculturists, retail stores, and companion pet owners, and attends all U.S. “Avi-Industry” conventions, including the American Federation of Aviculture, Avicultural Society of America, and Parrot Festival, on behalf of The Hagen Group.

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