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Parrots/B&G Macaw Irritated nares


My B&G macaw has just developed sneezing with irritated nares. There is no drainage at all, just the dry sneezing. I had a few birds with respiratory infections and all are being treated. The vet suggested treating my B&G as well so he has been on Orbax for 21 days. Could this sneezing be from the heavy pollen we have in our area? He is in a room with 4 cockatoos, but has been in this same room for the past 8 years. I have air purifiers running.

-------There are quite a few possible causes of sneezing with a bird.
Rhinitis (inflammation of the nares/nostrils).  There would likely be a nasal discharge involved that may be clear, cloudy or yellowish; thick or thin. The underlying cause may be anything from viral to bacterial or fungal.  

It could also be a reaction to a foreign object, which could be as common as dust or other birdís feathers/dander.
Our blue & gold macaw (Sadie) has this condition flare up twice a year during high pollen counts. Itís especially common in macaws and amazons (birds from rainforest/tropical climates).  The discharge may harden (rhinoliths) and if not (gently) wiped away regularly, it may plug the nares and cause several other severely complicated health issues.
Use a soft, warm, moist cloth to gently wipe the nares clear.
Another possibility is infection of the air sacs (air sacculitis). Symptoms for this includes coughing, wheezing and labored breathing.  Itís often more noticeable after the bird does something strenuous (like a flight). Treatment would depend on the infection (fungal, bacterial or viral).
When there is any respiratory distress in a bird, veterinary intervention to determine the source of the problem is necessary.  If your bird is having normal droppings, is not fluffing, losing balance or sitting at the bottom of the cage, and is eating/drinking normally, it is probably not an emergency; however, it is something that should be seen within 24-48 hours (the sooner, the better).   If along with respiratory problems you notice the bird fluffing and preferring to be at the bottom of the cage Ė or even in one area of the cage, not moving much on their perch Ė this is an urgent care situation.
In the meantime, as well as keeping the (nostrils) clear, when it comes to birds from tropical rainforests like macaws, amazons try installing a vaporizer (as opposed to a humidifier) in the room.  The hot steamy air can be helpful to both feather quality and respiratory tracts.   Vacuuming instead of just sweeping or dusting, needs to be done daily.  It might sound like a lot of work, but when done on a regular basis itís really not so bad.  I do it twice a day to help one of the permanent residents, a wonderful macaw with acute allergies.  Sheís improved quite noticeably with these efforts.
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Rev. Dr. S.August Abbott


Certified Avian Specialist; Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council member; Own animal rescue org; National Wildlife habitat #66378; bird care, nutrition & behavior consultant; International Assoc. of Animal Behavior Consultants Associate; National Wildlife Federation Leaders Club member; published bird care, info and behavior articles and guides. Ongoing education in exotic bird behavior and nutrition I can answer behavioral, nutritional, environmental, characteristic/personality questions as well as general health and health care. No animal emergency can ever be addressed on the internet. We cannot see your animal, perform an examination, provide necessary care or medication. Please value your companion for the priceless, living creature they are; not for what you might have paid for them.


Certified Avian Specialist. For more than 30 years I've worked with veterinarians, protective facilities, nature centers, preserves and on my own in providing care and education with regard to multiple animal species, including raptors (hawks, kestrals, owls, etc) and marsupials. In recent years I've focused on parrots, usually rescued from abusive or less than ideal situations and helping educate owners as to proper care. Expert in behavior studies and modification of problem behavior.

4AnimalCare is the organization I run as an animal ministry; World Wildlife Association, Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, National Wildlife Federation Leaders Club and more

Bird Talk Magazine articles about rescued and problem macaws.

Doctorate, Ordained Minister

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