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Dr. Lisa
Dr. Lisa, Small Animal/Avian Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1883
Experience:  26 yrs of small animal vet practice. Dog, cat and parrot caretaker for 35 yrs! Former Zookeeper
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my african grey parrot is breathing heavy and sounds like she

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my african grey parrot is breathing heavy and sounds like she has a cold



Generally, by the time a bird starts to show signs of illness they are very sick, and have been so for longer than we realize. Birds are 'programmed' as a 'prey' species, and so they hide their illness as long as possible, because in the wild the sick would be the first ones sought by the 'predator as their next meal.Some possibilities as to why your bird may sound like that include:


  • airborne toxins: cumulatively over time, from air fresheners, candles, cigarette smoke, to household cleaning products
  • toxic plants
  • overheating any household item that may contain a non-stick product, such as cookware, toasters, irons, hair dryers, self-cleaning ovens etc.
  • trauma
  • ruptured mass (polyp/tumour/fungal plaque)
  • Hypovitaminosis A (not enough dietary Vitamin A usually from eating a seed-based diet)
  • too dry an environment
  • respiratory infection (bacterial/viral/fungal)
  • neoplasia (much less likely)
  • mimicking a human noise

If your bird has had any other behavioral change, however small, I would make it a priority to take her to the vet ASAP ( . If she is eating a seed-based diet I would be very concerned about Hypovitaminosis A and all the secondary respiratory infections that go along with it. If she has exposure to other birds, I would worry about infectious agents.


No matter what the cause, if you can rule out 'mimicry', she needs to see a vet before she worsens.


I hope this helps and answers your question. If you have more questions about this problem, please press 'reply'. If you are satisfied, press the green ACCEPT icon. Bonuses and feedback are always appreciated.



Dr. Lisa

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I don't need any more help - you didn't answer quick enough and I took her to the vet hospital and they are keeping her in an oxygen tent tonight and will be blood work on her tomorrow.

I am sorry that your quetion was not seen by someone sooner. I am glad that your bird is receiving medical help.


Dr. Lisa

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