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S. August Abbott, CAS
S. August Abbott, CAS, Certified Avian Specialist
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 2544
Experience:  Cert. Avian Specialist; Int. Assoc.Animal Behavior Consult; Pet Ind. Joint Advisory Council; author
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My African Grey Parrot has a very bad Phlegm problem what can

Customer Question

My African Grey Parrot has a very bad Phlegm problem what can I do to cure it?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Bird
Expert:  Dr. Pat replied 4 years ago.
Sorry for the delay, I am on a different continent and evidently experts in your area were not available.

Can you send more information? Is the bird coughing? Sneezing? mucus from nostrils? How is the appetite and behavior? In which part of S. Africa do you reside? Can you describe his living quarters?

You are going to need local help on this, and a scientific and solid diagnosis to find safe and effective treatment.

He needs to see an avian-experienced veterinarian ASAP for complete examination, diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Check this link for members of AAV in your area (there only are a few listed for South Africa so you may need to do some serious research) or call your regular vet and see who they recommend; ask if they really have worked with birds a lot. If he were my patient, I would start with complete fecal analysis and direct smear, for multiple parasites; bacterial culture and sensitivity of the feces and choana. Depending on the case I might do a fungal culture. Routine blood work is necessary to check for liver disease, which very commonly is associated with beak problems. Generally I start them out on antibiotics as indicated by the tests (I use a lot of human antibiotics that are injectable).

He may need injectable fluids, calcium, antibiotics and many other medications. Act quickly and good luck.


The following guidelines help with basic issues such as nutrition, obesity, good immune status. Surprising how the following can make a bird healthy, and how infrequently birds are ill if they are on the following regimen. No amount of medicine is going to work if the birds' basic needs are not met.

Birds should be on a high-quality, preferably prescription, pelleted diet (I prefer Harrison's High Potency, TOP , Tropican). In addition, they should be offered dark leafy greens, cooked sweet potatoes, yams, squash, pumpkin; entire (tops and bottoms) fresh carrots and so forth. No seeds (and that means a mix, or millet, or sprays, etc. etc.) and only healthy, low-fat high fiber people food. A dietary change should be closely monitored and supervised by your avian vet.
convert to pellets
good diet

Birds should get 12-14 hours dark, quiet, uninterrupted sleep at night. Any less and they can suffer from sleep deprivation and associated illnesses. They should be covered or their cage placed in a dark room that is not used after they go to bed. They should have access to bathing by daily shower, misting, bath bowl, etc.
basic maintenance

The cage material should be cleaned everyday, and twice a day if the bird is really messy. Paper towels, newspaper, bath towels are ok. Never use corn cob, sawdust, wood chips, or walnut shell. Consider getting a large cage that is longer than tall--as birds move in a horizontal rather than vertical orientation; and have several feeding stations.
cages

Never give grit, gravel sandpaper or cement perches. A bird will eat those to excess when it is not feeling well or if there is a nutritional deficiency. They do not need it at all (an old myth from the poultry days, even poultry do not need it). It can cause an impaction and lead to serious or fatal consequences.
daily routine
hazards

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Cert. Avian Specialist; Int. Assoc.Animal Behavior Consult; Pet Ind. Joint Advisory Council; author