Canaries are native to the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa. When the Romans first arrived on this island, they discovered a huge bird that the natives used for hunting, as dogs normally are, so the name is derived from the Latin word for dog. Today many canaries are crossbred, which means they are mated with subspecies. Canaries of all types are known to be prone to some common diseases. During an outbreak of a disease, canaries generally exhibit symptoms including exhaustion, lethargy, loss of appetite, eyes that don't open fully, a tendency to sneeze, white and watery droppings, weight loss, constipation and/or diarrhoea, watery discharge from the beak and an increased tendency to sleep.
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Mites are the most common disease that canaries are prone to. Mites are bloodsuckers that weaken the canaries by attacking their digestive system, feathers and lungs. The most common types of mites are feather mites, air sac mites, red mites and leg and face mites. As the name suggests, feather mites attack and devour the feathers of canaries and cause baldness. Air sac mites are both deceptive and deadly. They inhabit the lungs, making them difficult to locate. They are transmitted from older birds to younger birds. Although rarely fatal, air sac mites can cause extreme weakness in canaries. Red mites live in the canaries' natural dwelling places and feed on them when they go to sleep in their caves or crevices. Finally, leg and face mite are found primarily in older canaries.
Canaries have a tendency to develop stomach ailments. These ailments can be caused by eating contaminated food, by loss of bacteria in the stomach, by infection in the stomach, and by a diet too high in protein. Signs of stomach ailments include diarrhoea, cramps, bloating and indigestion.
Although less common in domestic canaries than in wild birds, tapeworm is still a disease that afflicts many canaries. Tapeworm is a worm infestation caused by internal or external parasites. The most common reason for a tapeworm infection occurs when canaries eat insects and worms that are infected with tapeworm.
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