September is Animal Pain Awareness Month. It’s also Responsible Pet Ownership Month. Your bird relies on you to take care of them, and to provide food, water, toys, and, when needed, veterinary care. Polly is quite different from Fluffy and Fido, so new owners may not spot signs of sickness right away. It’s important to do some research, so you’ll know what to look for. A Wichita, KS vet lists some red flags in this article.


It’s almost always a red flag when an animal loses interest in dinner. Birds are no exception. Drinking more or less water than usual is also a cause for concern, as are sudden weight changes.


One of Polly’s most charming qualities is her voice. While some birds are more vocal than others, so you’ll want to watch (or listen) for changes in Polly’s usual speech. Labored breathing, rasping, gasping, sneezing, coughing, and open mouthed breathing are all indications that something is amiss.


Polly’s feathers should be soft and clean. Bleeding, stained, changes in color, and missing or broken feathers can all be indications that something is amiss.  Sometimes birds look fluffier than usual when they are sick. Lumps, bumps, or swelling are also warning signs, as is crusty or flaky skin. Your feathered pal’s cere (the skin around her nostrils) may look irregular.


It’s important to pay attention to Polly’s droppings. Changes in the color, amount, texture, or consistency can be signs of serious medical issues developing. Red, yellow, or pale waste is a sign that your winged buddy needs immediate care, as is straining to defecate. Staining around your feathered friend’s bottom is also a red flag.


An overgrown beak is one thing to watch for. You’ll also need to keep an eye on Polly’s claws, and watch for things like color changes or overgrowth. Dull, sunken, or watery eyes are also signs that something is off.



You may also notice changes in the way Polly moves or stands. Birds that don’t feel well may sit listlessly in their cages, sometimes just hanging out on the bottom. Your feathered pal may also tilt her head, pace or act erratically, or seem off balance. Lameness, drooping wings, trembling, falling, and seizures are also indications that something is amiss. Changes in your winged pet’s behavior or personality are also concerning.

Do you have questions about your bird’s health or care? Contact us, your Wichita, KS pet hospital, today!