4 Things Parrot Owners Need To Know About Cardiac Disease

You probably already know that people can develop cardiac disease as they get older, but you may not know that older birds are at risk, too. As your parrots age, they may develop cardiac disease. Here are four things parrot owners need to know about cardiac disease.

Why do parrots develop cardiac disease?

Parrots develop cardiac disease for the same reasons that people do. Just like not eating properly and not exercising is bad for your heart, it's bad for your parrot's heart, too.

Pet parrots don't always get the well-rounded diet that they need, and this can lead to health problems. To stay healthy, parrots need to eat a mixture of pelleted food, fruits, vegetables, and seeds. Restricted exercise is another big problem for pet parrots; sitting on their perch all day isn't good for your parrot. If your pet's wings are clipped, they can still get plenty of exercise by climbing a rope, playing fetch with you, or even dancing.

What are the signs of cardiac disease?

The signs of cardiac disease in parrots can be fairly vague. You may notice that your bird seems weaker or more tired than normal, or that they are breathing more quickly than they used to. In some cases, your bird's abdomen will become swollen due to liver damage or fluid buildup within the body.

How serious is cardiac disease?

Cardiac disease is very serious for parrots. Usually, treatment isn't started until the cardiac disease is advanced, and at that point, treatment typically fails. To protect your bird's heart, take them to the vet at the first sign of trouble instead of waiting to see if the condition gets worse.

How is cardiac disease treated?

First, your veterinarian will need to perform tests to find out what's wrong with your parrot's heart. These tests include ones that you are probably already familiar with such as x-rays, ultrasounds, blood pressure tests, and electrocardiograms. Blood tests can also be used as they are less stressful for your parrot than other tests.

Once cardiac disease has been diagnosed, treatment with medication can start. Most medications used to treat cardiac disease in birds were designed for mammals, but according to the Merck Veterinary Manual, they can still help birds. These medications can be used to improve your parrot's blood circulation, reduce congestion or fluid buildup, and to help their heart pump more effectively.

If you are concerned that your parrot has cardiac disease, take them to an animal hospital right away.