Can birds make dogs sick?

In a healthy dog, the answer is no. The answer is no unless there is an immunocompromised system, either in a human or a dog. Birds are like any other creature, healthy and coexisting with us.

Dr. Becka Byrd
Northern Oaks Bird and Animal Hospital

Are there bird diseases that humans can catch?

Again, if you have an immunocompromised system, that might be a concern, but if you're healthy and your bird is healthy, then you should be able to coexist peacefully. However, we do recommend washing your hands between handling your bird and handling food.

What are bird flu symptoms?

Bird flu symptoms would be the same as any flu symptoms.

Should birds get regular wellness checkups?

Yes, absolutely. We would also recommend annual lab work. Birds are what's called a silent carrier, and they have what's called a masking phenomenon, meaning that in the wild, they get eaten. They're at the bottom of the food chain, so they try to protect themselves from looking ill at all costs. When a bird looks sick, they're actually very sick by that time. So catching the disease early is extremely important, and blood work is one of the few ways we can do that. We, as veterinarians, can see some subtle markers during an examination that an owner might not pick up on.

Do birds need vaccinations or shots?

Not often, no. As long as they're pet birds, they're not in a breeding flock, and they're within your home, then we examine them and ensure they're healthy, and then we will provide advice on how to care for them.

How soon should you bring your bird in to see a veterinarian if you suspect something is wrong?

As soon as possible. Remember the masking phenomenon we talked about? Your bird's probably been sick a little longer than they're letting on, and they've just been hiding it until they can't anymore.

Why is it important to avoid self-diagnosing illness in your bird?

Because there's a lot of misadvice on the internet, and it is very difficult to tell if a bird is sick until they're so sick that it may be too late. We really want to jump on that as soon as possible. Birds don't just get a cold and get over it in a day or two. If a bird's on the bottom of a cage or fluffed up, sleeping more than it should be, vomiting, or sneezing, it's very important to get in immediately and get that treated.

What are some signs and symptoms that a bird is sick?

It's going to be the things that we've talked about. Excessive itching, scratching, a build-up of the cere on a bird, which is the area right above the nose, build-up of keratin on the nails, A beak that grows excessively long, longer than it should, fluffed up, sleeping more, sneezing, coughing, drainage from the nose, eyes that won't open, vomiting, staying on the bottom of the cage, and less active. All of those are signs that need to be addressed and should not be ignored in a bird. These are delicate little creatures with the potential for a very long life, but they do require adamant care and a keen eye.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (210) 496-1315, or you can email us at [email protected]. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can. Don't forget to follow us on social media #