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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 27933
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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I have2 finches. They scratch a lot& pick on each others

Customer Question

I have2 finches. They scratch a lot& pick on each others feathers is that mites?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Can people catch mites from the birds?
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

It's possible, yes, but unlikely if you've had these finches for many months and there haven't been new birds introduced into their environment during that time. I need you to place a white sheet over your finches at night. The mites live in crevices in the cage and feed on birds at night and then return to the crevices in daylight. If mites are present you'll see tiny black or red specks moving on the sheet in the morning. I recommend that you don't treat mites or presumptively use an over the counter mite product which invariably will have a much narrower range of safety and less efficacy than a prescription drug obtained from an avian vet (please see here: www.aav.org).

If you're comfortable doing so, you should carefully examine their feathers and skin. Molting can cause such pruritis (itchiness) and preening. If you're not comfortable handling such small and fragile birds, please have the vet do so. The vet can also examine the feathers microscopically. Other considerations include bacterial skin infection, viruses, fungal infections, allergies, metal poisoning, hormonal changes, psychological problems or combinations of these factors.

Yes, mites can transiently "infect" and bite people but won't stay on your skin very long. You aren't as tasty as are your finches. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.
Hi Shirley B.,
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Dr. Michael Salkin