Mites are a common health problem in budgies purchased from disreputable and unclean breeders or pet shops. Mites can also occur in pets that have received good care. When this happens, the mites usually were accidentally packaged in a bedding or food product purchased by the budgie's owner. Exposure to another bird with mites can also cause mites. No matter how your budgie got mites, this health problem must be addressed immediately with the assistance of a veterinarian.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Bird carrier
- Cleaning supplies
Record your budgie's symptoms. Typical signs of red mites (also known as feather mites) include restlessness at night and tiny moving red or grey specks visible on the bird's body. Burrowing face or leg mites can be identified by the pock marks left on the bird's beak, face and/or legs. In severe cases, extensive damage may be present, with huge areas of missing or damaged tissue.
Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. Describe your budgie's condition in detail so that your vet will be prepared to diagnose and treat her.
Take your budgie to the vet in a carrier specially designed for birds; never carry a budgie outdoors on your shoulder or in your hands. Your veterinarian will examine your budgie and determine if mites are present and, if so, which species is affecting your budgie.
Follow your veterinarian's instructions as to treatment. In mild infestations, it may be possible to get rid of feather mites simply by giving the cage a thorough cleaning and showering the bird during the day when red mites typically do not bite. Mild burrowing mite infestations that are not near the eyes can sometimes be treated with paraffin oil. In severe cases of mite infestation, treatment with ivermectin or moxidection may be necessary.
Keep your budgie's cage clean at all times to prevent future infestations. Do not take your budgie to pet stores or any place where other budgies may be present. When you buy new bedding or food, freeze it for several days before using it in order to kill mites and mite eggs if they are present in the package.
Eliminating Budgie Mites
Tips and warnings
- Take your bird for regularly scheduled veterinary checkups. This will often lead to mite infestations being identified before they are a serious health threat.
- Look for a vet who specialises in avian medicine. These veterinarians have the education and experience with caring for birds.
- If you handle someone else's budgie, change your clothes and wash your hands and hair before handling your own budgie in order to prevent mite transmission.
- Treat mite infestations early to avoid a severe infestation necessitating multiple rounds of treatment.
- Even if the mite infestation seems mild, your bird may have hundreds of mites burrowing into the creases of its skin and beak, causing potentially fatal anaemia.
- Contact your veterinarian as soon as you suspect a mite infestation.
- Red mites can affect humans, too. Be on the lookout for an itchy rash on your skin.
- Don't use over-the-counter sprays that claim to kill mites. These are not effective and can be dangerous to your bird if used improperly.
- If you must treat your budgie with ivermectin or moxidectin, watch her closely for a negative reaction to the drug. Some birds are very sensitive to these chemicals.
- Ask your vet about signs of a dangerous drug reaction.
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