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Budgerigar parakeets, or budgies for short, are small birds originating in tropical and subtropical areas. These intelligent little birds and their relatives make interesting pets and are easy to care for. They are subject to a number of parakeet diseases, some of which are transmissible to humans. Good care and regular cleaning of their habitat will help prevent most of them. There are a number of diseases that can affect these birds, and some may be fatal.
A common respiratory disease in pet budgies is chlamydiosis, also called psittacosis or parrot fever. It is contagious to humans, in whom it causes a feverish respiratory syndrome that must be treated promptly with antibiotics. Most respiratory parakeet diseases in pet birds are a result of poor hygiene. Regular cleaning of their aviary or cage will keep the birds and their owners safe from airborne contaminants.
Renal and liver parakeet diseases are often caused by dietary factors, either lack of certain nutrients or too much food. Budgies are especially prone to obesity, which can result in liver problems. Birds on a seed diet should have a cuttlebone to chew for the minerals, and some vets recommend vitamin supplements sprinkled on fresh vegetables and fruits. The biggest cage possible allows budgies, lovebirds and parrots to play with their toys and get enough exercise.
The best way to keep a budgie healthy is to keep the aviary or cage as clean as possible. Wastes accumulate on perches and other items and need to be removed promptly to avoid parakeet diseases that are transmitted to both other birds and humans. Water bottles are best, as open water dishes collect feces, dust and bacteria. Exposure to other birds may result in Giardia, an intestinal parasite, and roundworms, as well as mites that keep budgies awake at night. The mites will bite people if there are no birds around.
Most budgies and their larger exotic relatives will exhibit signs when they are not feeling well. A bird that is listless or sits with its head tucked under its wing during the day, exhibits discharge from eyes or nostrils, and has other symptoms like coughing and diarrhea will need veterinary attention. Budgies suffering from parakeet diseases should visit an avian specialist who is an expert in their care. One may be found through vet referrals or by searching professional veterinary associations online.
There are about 120 colorful species of parakeet, ranging from yellow and green to blue. Other colors may include orange and even red, depending on the subspecies. They live in Asia, Australia, Central and South America, where they may be referred to as conures. Seed eaters, they use their psittacene, or curved, bills to peel fruit and help them chew on items. A full-grown adult is around 7 inches (17.78 cm) long and may live for up to ten years, unless they contract one of the number of parakeet diseases that can be fatal.