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Does Your Bird Have Mites? Symptoms and Treatment

Parasite19 300x196 Does Your Bird Have Mites? Symptoms and TreatmentMites or lice: do your birds have an infestation?

First off this is a common problem for chickens that can be carried in by wild birds. So if your birds have mites or lice it doesn’t always mean you aren’t taking proper care of your birds.

An infestation can cause a reduction in laying, pale combs and wattles, anemia and even death! Feather loss is another side effect (usually on the back) because a bird may over preen and pluck her own feathers in attempt to get relief. So treat your birds immediately to keep them from suffering.

What are mites?

They are just like fleas, lice or mosquitos in that they suck blood but they inhabit your birds’ feathers, and not your hair. A mite is very tiny thus it is hard to see, and some types of mites only come out at night. Sometimes they can be seen around a bird’s vent or beneath the wings (especially if your bird has light colored feathers). Although lice are larger, they are nearly as hard to see as mites because they are lighter colored.


Although there are various treatments for these parasites, they all tend to involve using a pesticide dust or spray on your birds. I know it sounds scary, but think of it like a flea dip for birds.

One way to treat them can be with a non-chemical solution, like Diatomaceous Earth. This works slowly since it sort of scratches the bugs to death. However if your infestation is severe, you may want to use something that will kill them on contact to provide your birds immediate relief, like a dust or a spray.

Dust is usually recommended since the birds usually enjoy the feeling of dust in their feathers, whereas they dislike getting wet. Be careful when applying the dust, though, that neither you nor your birds breathe it in. Use old spice shakers or fill a toe from a pair of ladies pantyhose with the powder and pat it on that way (it filters through like a powder puff). Make sure to apply the treatment around the vents and beneath the wings in particular. If you have a rooster make absolutely sure to treat him thoroughly, as if he has mites, he will spread it back around to the rest of your birds! Hold the bird firmly while applying the powder since your birds may decide to react to your kind ministrations by flapping their wings vigorously making a real dust cloud that you don’t want to breathe in.

Scaly leg mites: This can also cause problems for your birds, but they are treated differently. Your birds may have scaly leg mites if the scales on their legs begin to lift up. This is caused by the mite waste building up under the scales which is painful and eventually debilitating for your birds. You can treat for scaly leg mites by rubbing on petroleum jelly or even an antibiotic ointment that uses petroleum jelly as a base. Some people prefer to use oil, or even something like a Pam cooking spray. You will have to treat every two or three days for several weeks, and the scales may not return to normal.

Although some people recommend treating scaly leg mites with things like WD-40, don’t do it! WD-40 has strong fumes that can cause respiratory irritation to your birds. It also carries a caution recommendation that if it comes into contact with your skin, it should be immediately washed off – so why put it on your birds?

If you think your bird has mites and you are not sure about the best course of action, bring them to the vet for an evaluation. Remember, at Albuquerque Vetco we are now treating birds!

Top 12 Most Common Feline Health Problems (Pt 3)

If you have a cat, make sure you know the 12 most common health problems. Below continues our series on cat health. Read pt. 1 and pt. 2 for the first 8 most common cat health problems. 9. Kidney Disease Kidney disease affects your cats ability to excrete waste into their urine. This leads to a [...]


Top 12 Most Common Feline Health Problems (Pt 2)

If you have a cat, make sure you know the 12 most common feline health problems . Below continues our series on cat health. Read pt. 1 for the first 4 most common cat health problems. 5. Feline Lower Urinary Tract Diseases aka. (FLUTD) FLUTD is actually a collection of feline diseases and conditions that affect [...]


Top 12 Most Common Feline Health Problems (Pt 1)

Do you have a cat?  Do you know the 12 most common feline health problems?  Many of these health issues have simple treatment and prevention options. Read the top 12 most common cat health problems so you know how to help prevent, identify and treat them in your cat. 1. Vomiting Vomiting is likely the [...]


My Bird is Bald! Why Your Bird is Plucking

Feather plucking: bad bird behavior with sad results. Does your bird have bald spots? Does he have a ring around his collar, but the ring is a giant bald spot? Your beloved Polly may be plucking. Also known as feather-picking or pterotillomania is a behavioral disorder commonly seen in captive birds. Some birds will chew, bite or [...]


Hot Spots! Too Much Licking

Dogs lick themselves to clean themselves, however not all licking is for hygiene. Licking can also be a sign that something is wrong.  Read our post about what excessive licking in dogs can mean in terms of infection, arthritis and anxiety.  Sometimes all that licking can lead to a “Hot Spot”. A hot spot is [...]


Excessive Licking: Dog Paws

Does your dog like to lick and lick and lick? When your dog licks his paws it is not always good! Sometimes a dog can lick their paws too much and cause the skin to become raw. Excessive licking can also indicate another problem.  If you see your pup licking a lot, you may need [...]


Getting Long in the Beak? Time for a Trim!

It may sound scary but trimming a birds beak may be necessary (whether to help them to eat or to avoid them from hurting each other). Just like your fingernails a birds beak grows continuously throughout its life. Because of this, the beak must be constantly ground down in order for it to function properly. [...]


Anaphylaxis in Dogs

Have you heard of someone dying from a peanut allergy or a bee sting? This is called anaphylaxis. It is a sever allergic reaction that requires immediate attention. Did you know that dogs can have anaphylactic shock too? A dog will have anaphylactic shock when they are exposed to an allergen to which they have [...]


Ask Vetco: How To Remove a Bee Sting

A bee sting is no laughing matter for either you or your pet! If your pet spends time outdoors he or she will be at more risk, although an inside pet getting stung is not unheard of. A sting can be a matter of life and death for some pets so it is important to [...]

Albuquerque Vet-Co: Quality Pet Care at Affordable Prices. Come by or call today for your pet veterinary care!