Your pet parrots can develop a number of health problems over the course of their lifetimes, including yeast infections like candidiasis. Here are four things parrot owners need to know about candidiasis.
How do parrots get candidiasis?
Candidiasis is caused by Candida albicans, a type of fungi that is also known as yeast. C. albicans is naturally present in your birds' digestive tracts and is a normal part of their gut flora. In low numbers, the presence of C. albicans isn't an issue, but if something happens that gives these fungi the chance to increase their numbers, your bird could get candidiasis.
Many things can allow these fungi to increase their numbers. For example, if your pets become immunosuppressed due to malnutrition or other health problems, their immune systems could no longer be able to keep their normal gut flora under control, and the C. albicans could multiply. Your bird could also develop candidiasis after taking antibiotics for an infection. Antibiotics kill the bad bacteria that cause disease, but they also kill the good bacteria that are supposed to be part of your bird's gut flora. With these good bacteria out of the way, C. albicans has less competition and can increase its numbers.
What are the signs of candidiasis?
For adult parrots, candidiasis isn't a life-threatening condition. You may notice that your birds have white spots inside their mouths. They may also lose interest in their food or regurgitate their food.
Candidiasis is serious for very young parrots. Baby birds have immature immune systems, so candidiasis can spread from their digestive systems to their blood or bone marrow. They can also develop skin problems or have difficulty breathing.
How do vets treat this infection?
After diagnosing your pets with candidiasis, your vet will prescribe an antifungal medication to clear up the yeast. Since the yeast can be resistant to some medications, your vet may need to prescribe more than one medication before one works.
It's also important to clean your birds' cages. Cleaning their cages helps to improve their health outcomes and removes lingering C. albicans from their environment. A solution of one gallon of water and 1/2 cup of bleach is the best disinfectant for the cages. Clean all of the cage surfaces and contents with the solution and rinse them with water afterwards. Since birds are very sensitive to fumes, it's a good idea to move them to another room while you're cleaning.
If you think your parrots have candidiasis, take them to a vet like those at East Lake Animal Clinic right away.