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Sinusitus in an Amazon parrot

Expert Question

I have a 35 yr old male yellow-naped amazon that was wild caught. I live on the SF Bay peninsula so you are familiar with the climate. For many years he has had a chronic case of sinusitus. From about 8 years ago, the best advice from my avian vet has been to keep his nares/face misted with clean water several times daily. In general the misting has improved the sinus condition, but not eliminated occasional bouts of stuffy sounding nose. I also usually take him in the shower with me daily, letting the spray only hit his back for a minute or two, not directly into his face. He much prefers misting to the shower. I’ve noticed that the shower sometimes precipitates an hour or two of a very clogged sounding sinus, even though he may have been ok before the shower.

My question is, should I be doing anything else for his sinus condition, and is the shower time beneficial, or should I just mist him? Aside from the stuffy-sounding nose on occasion, his health is good, he gets out and flys daily, eats Harrisons and vegetables, and his latest blood tests were normal. Thank you for your advice.

Expert Answer

Sinusitis, technically, simply describes inflamed sinuses. This general description could apply to infections (primary or secondary), allergic issues, inhaled irritants, environmental irritants, foreign bodies, or even tumors in some circumstances. So, a working diagnosis of sinusitis, in my mind’s eye, would be merely a symptom of some sort of primary etiology that may be in need of identification.

In the absence of the specific details of your bird’s medical case, it would be challenging to provide accurate advice here. In general, should a set of persistent clinical signs remain present in a patient, it is fair to consider revisiting the nature of and accuracy of the diagnosis, seeking hopefully a bit more information with which to guide more definitive treatment(s).

The diet you describe sounds good, and it is good to know that you have established sound basic health information recently. Most sinus problems, even infections, however, do not reflect systemically in a blood test type of workup alone.

Brian Speer, DVM
About Brian Speer, DVM

Avian veterinarian Dr. Brian Speer was raised in a small town on California’s coast. He received his BS in Biology from California Polytechnic State University in 1978, and his DVM degree from the University of California at Davis in 1983.

An active member of the Association of Avian Veterinarians (AAV), Dr. Speer is a much sought after guest speaker and has presented at numerous conferences in the avicultural and zoological communities both within the United States and abroad. He is well published in the AAV annual proceedings, has served as guest editor for the journal Seminars in Avian and Exotic Pet Medicine, the Veterinary Clinics of North America, and authored chapters in several recent veterinary medical texts on pet bird, avicultural and ratite medical topics. In 1995 he co-authored the extensive avicultural reference, The Large Macaws, and helped to co-author Birds for Dummies in 1999.

Since 1989, Dr, Speer has run a “bird’s only” practice in the San Francisco Bay area and is the President and Director of The Medical Center for Birds. He is a consultant for The Veterinary Information Network (Avian Medical Boards) and the Maui Animal Rescue and Sanctuary. In 2003 he was the recipient of the Lafeber award for excellence in private practice of avian medicine and surgery and in 2006, was named Speaker of the Year for the North American Veterinary Conference.