Drooling is a common symptom of many different conditions and can be alarming for you and your pet. This blog post will teach you to identify the most common causes of drooling in parrots, do you need to take them to a vet, as well as how to treat them.
Parrot drooling can have many different reasons, ranging from minor to severe conditions. However, parrots with respiratory disease are the most common cause of excessive salivation in pet birds.
While not all birds have saliva glands (as is the case with pelicans), parrots do. According to the University of Erciyes, bird salivary glands are present from birth. They are located on the roof and floor of the mouth as well as on the tongue. This salvia is carried via a system of ducts to where it’s going.
Humans have between 800 and 1000 salivary glands distributed across the tongue, palate, and mouth. Parrots also have them, although they are fewer in number.
Their taste buds are 300 compared to our 10,000. The position of the main salivary glands is also different, resulting in a dry tip of the tongue. Parrot’s dry tip is due to the way that birds’ digestive systems utilize saliva.
Parrots use saliva to lubricate their throats and help with solid food digestion. The saliva, on the other hand, does not rise to the beak. It instead covers the esophagus, crop, and pharynx.
Avian physiology differs significantly from that of mammals. Because of this, even though parrots generate saliva and have salivary glands, they employ it differently. It’s deposited in the crop (another name for the esophagus), an extension of the esophagus. Food may be kept and combined with saliva for later usage or regurgitated to hatchlings.
Yes, regurgitated food has a small amount of saliva coming back up. However, this will be a minor quantity and difficult to spot with the naked eye. You’ll notice the mushy, partially digested matter.
Because of this, if you observe your parrot regurgitating, there’s no reason to worry about a sick bird.
If your parrot is coughing or gagging up undigested food, it will be a straightforward procedure. It’ll bob its head, extend its neck, and even flap its wings to accomplish this.
On the other hand, drooling is a non-motivated behavior that does not generally result in any additional symptoms. Other symptoms may not be apparent or arise later.
Drooling can be caused by a variety of disorders, including:
- Respiratory infection such as Pneumonia and Aspergillosis
- Esophageal disorders such as Trichomoniasis (Canker) or Proventricular Dilatation Disease (PDD)
- Internal parasites such as Roundworms, Tapeworms, and Flukes
- Liver disease
- Kidney disease
- Intestinal parasites
- Excessive egg-laying
- Cancers, both primary and secondary
Canker is a commonly found disease of birds caused by the parasite Trichomonas gallinae. This illness affects mainly pigeons and budgies, but it may affect other species, including cockatoos and parrots as well. The parasite is carried via water and seeds, and it must survive without eating. Therefore, it thrives in the bodies of these birds.
What are the symptoms of Canker?
- Decreased activity and appetite
- Weight loss or poor growth in young animals
- Straining to pass droppings
In adult birds, there may be no signs at all until they have been infected for a long time with severe damage to their crop lining and proventriculus (the organ that stores and grinds food to be digested).
Parrots can catch Canker. Parrot flocks that live in the wild and captive cockatiel and budgie flocks are the most common victims. Because the parasite Trichomonas gallinae needs moisture to survive and is spread through:
- Any shared water
- Droppings within a shared area
- Birds regurgitating or preening on one another
- Physical contact via mating rituals
- Any beak-to-beak contact between birds
- Involuntary contact with bodily fluids such as vomit, diarrhea, and drool
Even if your parrots are clean, wild birds can pose a danger and be responsible for disease caused to your parrot.
Pigeons are frequently affected by Canker and can spread the disease.
Any pigeons that roam near your home leave dropping on rooftops or anywhere near your parrot can potentially infect your birds.
Events such as going to bird shows or other social bird situations where your parrot may encounter other flocks are high-risk. Parrots can be contaminated from drinking water from shared sources with other birds.
If your parrot has these symptoms, it’s possible cankers are the cause of that problem. You should contact a vet asap and request an avian checkup.
The parasite that causes cankers can create irritation and ulcerations in a bird’s crop walls. In addition, secondary germs and viruses are typical.
Unfortunately, the disease is deadly if it is not diagnosed and treated quickly. Another thing to keep in mind is that some parrots do not have any symptoms of Canker Disease. Some parrots may be acting fine and never drop a feather, and some may lose weight or show no signs of illness at all.
Most parrots that have Canker will die if they are not treated. However, most vets can easily treat parrots for Canker if caught quickly with great recovery rates.
Your vet may prescribe anti-parasitic medication such as:
- Amitraz baths
The first step in preventing Canker is a thorough cleaning. Make sure you clean your parrot’s water and food bowl at least once a day after each meal before letting any of your other birds into their cage, test and quarantine them all. During the breeding season, you must treat all birds in your care.
Additional measures to avoid the spread of cancer:
- Quarantine any new parrot or bird before introducing them to your parrot
- Canker can be spread via other people who’ve had recent contact with birds. Limit contact when possible.
- Prevent any contact between the beak of your parrot and other birds
- Food and water can be changed out daily, being sure to clean dishes and bowls.
- To minimize the amount of moisture that accumulates, use feeders with drainage holes.
- Daily cleaning of the droppings is required, as they may drop on or near food.
- To minimize territorial disputes, crowding and provide several water and food dishes.
- Keep your parrot away from windows where pigeon droppings have been.
- Even though a screen, don’t allow your parrot to interact with wild birds.
Sometimes parrots will be observed to drool when experiencing emotional excitement or stress.
Parrots will often drool when expecting food and around regular meal times. However, this can also be caused by an infection of the mouth or respiratory tract.
Parrots will drool when they are sick or feeling stressed, and it’s essential to know why your parrot is salivating to get them treated quickly.
It is essential to know that there are many reasons that your parrot may be producing drool, and this is a symptom of several different diseases. Therefore, your priority should be to contact an avian vet as soon as possible if you notice any signs of illness in your bird.
- Remove high-fat foods.
- Provide fresh, clean water at all times
- Remove the perches, spray with bleach or other disinfectant and let dry before replacing them. The disinfectant will kill any parasites residing in your bird’s cage and prevent the re-infection of further birds.
If your pet has any signs of respiratory issues such as sneezing or wheezing, you need to contact an avian veterinarian immediately. If the cause of the salivation appears to be coming from other than the respiratory tract, you should visit your avian vet to discuss treatment options.
Excessive saliva in pet birds is often a sign of an underlying problem, but most cases of are relatively minor and readily treated by a professional vet. If the underlying condition is diagnosed early enough, a full recovery may be possible.
To avoid your pet developing a critical illness, make an appointment for a comprehensive vet examination at least once a year and more often if required.
Related Post : Why Do Budgies Fall Off Their Perch?
Producing drool is a typical response in pet birds that often indicates they are hungry, excited, or just anticipating food. When you return home, your bird may be excited when it’s time for their favorite food (such as mealworms) or since they haven’t been fed in a while.
Feeding your pet a balanced diet that contains no more than 15% fat can help prevent drooling. In addition, there are several alternative diets, snacks, and supplements available to give your parrot the best nutrition possible.
Consult with an avian veterinarian if your parrot shows signs of drooling or respiratory infection.
If your bird is producing drool due to esophageal or internal parasites, you may give them a dewormer according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If your pet has a bacterial infection, it may benefit from antibiotic therapy.
Speak with your vet about using an antihistamine if your parrot is drooling due to allergies.
Drooling can be Canker or a sign of other illnesses in your parrot, including respiratory or digestive problems.
However, your parrot can still have Canker even without drooling as a symptom.
Some parrots with Canker can carry the disease without showing any symptoms at all.
As a responsible parrot owner, you must pay close attention to your pet’s behavior and notice anything that seems abnormal.
Some signs your parrot may be ill include:
- No longer eating their favorite foods.
- Puffing up their feathers
- Plucking at their feathers
- Unusual/poor posture
- Excessive sleeping or trouble sleeping.
- Unusual change in dropping (runny, discolored, etc.)
- Lethargic and lacking energy
- Frequent sneezing
- Feathers appear dull or poorly preened.
- Parrot develops a crooked beak or crooked toenails.
- Displaying unusual signs of aggression
Any of the above signs could indicate there’s something wrong with your parrot. If you notice any of these behaviors, contact an avian vet immediately.