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Budgie with very watery droppings and wheeziness

Expert Question

My Question: I have an aviary budgie with very watery droppings and wheeziness. He has had a broad spectrum antibiotic jab at the avian vets, followed by 10 days on “ornicure”.

Coccidia has been ruled out and I have had a lab test for chlamydia which has come back negative. The bird is still indoors although not needing additional heat. If he goes back out he really struggles (shortness of breath).

It may be relevant to mention that another bird has been prone to a messy vent for two months, without showing any other symptoms. The chlamydia test was a pooled swab.

I have also tried Ivermectin to rule out mites etc.

Where do I go from here?

Thanks,  Helen Jones

Expert Answer

This is an excellent question, Helen, but, unfortunately, there is no quick answer.  Watery droppings can be caused by numerous diseases: parasites, toxins, viruses, bacteria, foods, the list is endless.  I would suggest a complete diagnostic work-up for this little guy.  This would include blood tests, multiple fecal examinations, radiographs, etc. Another point to remember is that even if a chlamydia test comes back negative, this does not rule out the disease. 

Since another bird is involved, I would be most concerned about contagious disease. Check with your avian veterinarian: s/he knows you and your bird and can better suggest necessary testing/treatment. 

I hope you can get to the bottom of your budgies’ problems!

Ellen K. Cook, DVM
About Ellen K. Cook, DVM

Dr. Ellen K. Cook has been practicing small animal medicine since 1975. In 1998, she rescued Merlin, a six-year-old Moluccan cockatoo with many undesirable behaviours, and soon began focusing primarily on avian veterinary medicine and behavioral issues.

Dr. Cook is a member of the Association of Avian Veterinarians, the International Association of Trainers and Educators, the Animal Behavior Management Alliance, and the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behaviorists.

She has published numerous articles over the years on avian veterinary and behavioural care, and serves as on online consultant for the World Parrot Trust. Dr. Cook has been teaching basic behavior classes to parrots and their caregivers since 2009, and is the founder of Parrots Anonymous, an organization dedicated to educating those who live with companion parrots.

To book a consultation with Dr. Cook, visit the Cicero Veterinary Clinic at