4 Things Bird Owners Need To Know About Scaly Face And Leg Mites

Your pet bird is susceptible to many different health problems, including mites. The burrowing mite cnemidocoptes pilae, also known as scaly leg and face mites, can infest your pet and cause disease. Here are four things you need to know about scaly face and leg mites.

How do the mites spread?

The mite infection can remain dormant for a long time, and it's thought that birds often get the infection while in the nest. This means that your sick bird may have already had mites when you brought them home from the pet store, though they appeared perfectly healthy at the time.

These mites are very contagious and spread easily from bird to bird. They can spread to healthy birds due to direct contact, but they can also infest the cage and spread to healthy birds in that way. If one of your birds has these mites, you will need to treat their cage mates as well since it's likely that they are also infected. 

What are the signs of scaly leg and face mites?

If your bird has scaly leg and face mites, you'll notice that they have bumpy, scaly growths on their legs and/or faces. These white growths are small at first, but over time, they get bigger and eventually lead to deformities. Your pet's feet or beak may become severely deformed if the mites aren't treated.

How is the condition treated?

The main treatment for scaly leg and face mites is ivermectin. This antiparasitic medication works by killing the mites and their eggs. The medication can be given either orally or by injection, and another dose will generally be required two weeks after the first to make sure that all of the mites are gone.

In addition, your vet may tell you to apply petroleum jelly or mineral oil to the affected areas to ease your bird's discomfort. These products need to be kept away from your bird's feathers, so use a cotton swab to precisely apply the ointments.

How can you prevent a recurrence?

To keep the mites from re-infesting your bird, you'll need to carefully clean and disinfect your pet's cage. Remove food bowls, toys, and other items from the cage, and then wash the entire cage with hot soapy water. Don't forget to wash the bars of the cage. Rinse the cage, and then disinfect it with either an avian disinfectant (available from veterinarians) or a solution of bleach and water.

Once the cage is clean, clean your pet's food bowl, perch, and other items. This can be done in the same way that you cleaned the cage. Throw out any objects that can't be disinfected, like wood toys. Once the cage and its contents have been washed and disinfected, it's safe to return your pet to its cage.

If you think your bird has scaly face and leg mites, take them to a vet (such as http://www.1stPetVet.com) right away.