There is nothing more heartbreaking than finding out that your parakeet has suddenly passed away for an unknown reason. The sudden loss of your beloved pet can leave every pet lover heartbroken and with lots of questions, with the main one being “why parakeets will die?” So what are the main reasons why parakeets die?
Generally, there are many reasons why your parakeet dies suddenly, including improper diet, accidental poisoning, diseases, night frights, and heat exposure, among others. Luckily, some of these reasons can be avoided before your pet dies, but some are beyond your control.
Parakeets are amazing creatures that can learn a wide range of tricks. Unfortunately, their well-being can be affected by a wide range of things, and in some cases, it can result in their demise. So in this article, we’ll elaborate more on why parakeets die. We’ll also show you which foods can kill your pet.
5 Reasons Why Parakeets Die?
There are lots of reasons why your pet may die suddenly; some of them do present symptoms, while others cause unexpected and sad death. You may notice some of these symptoms and save your pet’s life on time if you’re keen.
Unfortunately, most of these symptoms can go unnoticed by the pet owners, especially if they don’t know what they’re looking for, resulting in the sudden death of their pets. Some pet owners can dismiss some of these common symptoms only to be surprised by the death of their pets. So here are some of the leading causes of the death of a parakeet and symptoms to watch out for:
- Heat Exposure
Parakeets are tropical creatures that love warmer temperatures; therefore, they cannot tolerate extended periods of exposure to direct sunlight. Parakeets left outside their cage and exposed to high temperatures for a very long time can die instantly. A parakeet’s cage should never be kept in full sunlight unless you create a shady place near where it can retreat when it gets hot. (source)
It would be best if you placed your pet’s cage where the temperature from morning to evening is stable. After all, a constant increase in temperature is one of the leading causes of parakeet death that most folks don’t know or tend to forget.
Therefore, you should never place your pet in an open-air environment where the sun’s rays can reach it or lock the windows when traveling a long distance.
Unfortunately, the temperature is too low in most parts of the US, so you should never leave your pet outside unattended.
- Accidental Poisoning
If your pet suddenly becomes sick and dies, it could have been poisoned by some of the fumes in the house. After all, some of the safe toxics for cats and dogs can be very harmful to your Parakeets.
For example, the non-stick pans tend to release fumes when heated. These fumes are safe for most pets but dangerous for some birds, including parakeets.
Oven cleaners produce toxic fumes that can poison your pet, so you should keep your pet away from the kitchen. Things like carbon monoxide and gas leaks can also kill your pet. (source), but most importantly, don’t disinfect its cage or food and water dishes with a harmful chemical or a detergent containing chemicals that can harm the parakeet.
- What Food Kills Parakeets?
At times the main reason why parakeets die suddenly can be part of what they eat. And one of the main reasons for this is giving your pet an improper diet or overfeeding them human food. Remember, parakeets have a delicate digestive system, and feeding them some foods can harm their health. Some human foods are toxic to these parrots.
Parakeets only feed on a high-quality mixture of seeds designed for their sensitive digestive system. Therefore, you should only give them a small number of raw veggies and fruit as treats.
After all, vast amounts of raw fruits can spike their sugar levels. Some of the foods that can be toxic to your pet include:
- Onions/ garlic: while a small amount of garlic or onion powder is acceptable, excessive consumption can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and digestive issues. Prolonged exposure to onion or garlic can result in a blood condition referred to as hemolytic anemia. Respiratory problems and death can follow hemolytic anemia.
- Avocado: the pit and skin of avocado can cause cardiac distress and heart failure in parakeets. So you should keep the guacamole away from your bird.
- Apple seeds: the seeds of apples, together with all the other rose family fruits like pears, apricots, peaches, and cherries, contain cyanide. The fruit is acceptable for your pet, but be aware of the poisonous seeds and make sure you remove them before feeding your parrot.
- Chocolate: chocolate may be an exceptional treat for your family, but it can be fatal to your birds. Chocolate poisoning can cause diarrhea and vomiting. In some cases, the condition may progress to the pet’s CNS (central nervous system), followed by seizures and death.
- Other poisonous foods that can affect your parrot include caffeine, alcohol, salt, tomato leaves, and mushrooms.
- Deadly Diseases
Like all birds, the parakeets are prone to many deadly diseases; some can cause sudden death while others can exhibit some symptoms. Some of these illnesses can show a wide range of symptoms, so you must monitor your pet’s health. Some of the illnesses that can cause sudden death include:
Many conditions affect both males and females, but only a few can affect only female parakeets, like egg binding. This condition is quite common, and it causes the bird’s reproductive system to retain the egg. Since they can’t lay eggs naturally, you may have to take your pet to the vet.
Any female parakeet can get this condition, even if they have never mated before. Parrots can lay unfertilized eggs, but egg binding is quite common among young or older birds during their first mating season. Some of the symptoms of egg binding include:
- Swelling of your parakeet’s abdomen
- Straining and constipation
- Strenuous or rapid breathing
- Sitting on the cage’s floor for an extended period
This life-threatening condition can result in the death of your pet if it’s left unresolved for a very long time. (source)
PDD (Proventricular Dilatation Disease)
The PDD, also known as wasting illness, is a dangerous condition that affects all parrots, including parakeets. The wasting disease can affect your pet’s digestive system resulting in its proventriculus becoming swollen and dilated, blocking the digestive system. (source)
With PDD, your pet may not be able to digest its meals resulting in starvation. It can also damage your pet’s nervous system and brain. Some of the symptoms of PDD include:
- Regurgitation of food
- Weight loss
- Inability to digest its food
- Poor appetite
The cause of this condition was unknown until 2008 when researchers identified the virus causing this condition and named it avian bornavirus. Unfortunately, it has no cure, and any bird that gets this condition dies within days. (source)
This fungal infection is quite common among birds, and the fungus aspergillus causes it. It multiplies after accessing your parakeet’s respiratory tract, resulting in respiratory disease. Luckily, it’s not a contagious disease, but it can be passed from one bird to another. Parakeets are known for picking these spores from their surroundings.
Poor sanitation, excess humidity, and lack of ventilation can increase the likelihood of your pet contracting this illness.
Aspergillosis affects the lower and upper parts of your pet’s respiratory tract, and some of the symptoms to watch out for include:
- Droopy wings
- Tail bobbing
- Heavy breathing or gasping for breath
- Mouth breathing
- Cloudy, sticky, or swollen eyes
- Nasal discharge
- Yellowish cheesy discharge from its eyes
Unfortunately, your parakeet won’t show any symptoms until the spores have caused severe damage. And if the disease progresses, it can result in the unexpected death of your pet. (source)
Egg Yolk Peritonitis
Another fatal condition that affects only female birds is egg yolk peritonitis. This condition affects their reproductive tracts. Plus, it can affect any bird irrespective of whether it has mated or not.
Egg peritonitis can affect a wide range of birds, including macaws, lovebirds, cockatiels, and parakeets.
This condition is an inflammatory reaction of the peritoneum triggered by the presence of yolk in the bird’s coelomic cavity. The presence of yolk material can cause a mild inflammatory response and reabsorb by its peritoneum. (source) Some of the common symptoms of egg yolk peritonitis include:
- Weight loss
- Wide stance
- Swelling around the cloaca and in the abdomen
- Orange or yellow
The egg yolk peritonitis can quickly turn septic if any bacteria like E.coli is present in the bird’s reproductive system. Your pet may die instantly if not treated with fluid injections and antibiotics.
Thyroid Hyperplasia (Goiter)
Thyroid hyperplasia is quite common among animals, and in birds, it is referred to as an avian goiter. When your parakeet gets avian goiter, its thyroid gland becomes enlarged; this can apply some pressure on other crucial organs. Avian goiter can also pressure your bird’s heart, air sacs, lungs, and digestive system.
The buildup of fluid inside your pet’s body can cause the following:
- Weight loss
- Distended crop
- Regurgitating food
- Difficulty swallowing
- Squeaking or wheezing when breathing
Thyroid hyperplasia can cause sudden death. The swollen glands can strain the bird’s heart resulting in heart failure. Goiter can be caused by exposure to chemicals, toxic foods, or iodine deficiency. (source)
Other common illnesses affecting your pet include avian tuberculosis, parrot fever, and PBFD (Psittacine beak and feather disease). The PBFD is a viral infection that can destroy your pet’s Immune system while damaging feathers and breaking cells. (source)
- Heavy Metal Toxicosis
Ingesting heavy metals can result in a fatal condition known as heavy metal toxicosis. Some of the heavy metals that can harm your parrot include iron, copper, cadmium, and mercury. But the most common heavy metals that can affect parrots are lead and zinc.
Your parakeet can consume heavy metals by chewing on some household objects or drinking contaminated water.
Some of the things containing heavy metals include coins, jewelry, wire, leaded windows, and metal clips. (13) if your bird has ingested heavy metals, it will exhibit the following symptoms:
- Regurgitation of water
- Constant thirst
The bird’s urate may appear pink, red, yellow, or green. If your parakeet ingests too many heavy metals, it can result in its sudden demise.
Should I Replace My Parakeet’s, Dead Mate?
Yes, but you should give it time to grieve just like other animals and human beings do. If you don’t want to get your pet another mate, you should know that you’re going to be its only playmate, which can be very tedious.
What Are the Signs of a Dying Parakeet?
Even though parakeets try and disguise these symptoms, you will see your pet s suffer from breathing issues. Other symptoms include abnormal poop, vomiting, and lackluster feathers, and if they’re about to die, you’ll notice a decrease in their activity levels.
How Will I Know When My Parrot Is in Shock?
Any bird that’s in shock appears unresponsive, weak, and fluffed up. Plus, in some cases, it breathes out quickly and in slowly. When you notice these symptoms, you should move your bird to a humid, warm, semi-dark, and quiet environment. Warmth is crucial when your pet is in shock, so keep it warm.
These Articles May Also Interest You
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- Can Parakeets Eat Carrots?
- 7 Things A Parakeet Needs
- Parakeets and Cockatiels: A Comparison
- What Does it Mean When Parakeets Puff Up?
- The Parakeet Vs. The Lovebird: The Differences Explained
Our pets are parts of our families, and the sudden death of one of them due to our negligence can be heartbreaking. Therefore, parakeet owners do everything humanly possible to keep their pets safe, keeping them away from toxins and harmful human foods and constantly monitoring their health.
After all, a typical disease, if left unchecked for a very long time, can end up causing the death of your beautiful parrot.
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- PetMD Editorial, Egg Binding in Birds, https://www.petmd.com/bird/conditions/reproductive/c_bd_egg_binding/ Accessed March 29, 2022
- Tan Tizard et al. The Pathogenesis of Petroventricular dilation disease, https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/animal-health-research-reviews/article/abs/pathogenesis-of-proventricular-dilatation-disease/782DEF445E311469B24CAB2DCCC9F108/ Accessed March 29, 2022
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