Mold and Dangerous Gasses Can Pose a Health Risk to your Parrot

After a major hurricane or other flooding event, parrot owners need to be aware of the health concerns for both themselves and their parrots. One of the primary concerns is “Stachybotrys Chartarum”—which is commonly referred to as “Black Mold.” Black mold can grow as fast as 48 hours after a flooding event.

While we have not seen specific evidence that black mold produces mycotoxin-based disease in parrots (like it does in people)—it is commonly known that parrots are very susceptible to fungal infections typically from another mold called “Aspergillus”. Birds have a very sensitive respiratory tract, that includes an infraorbital (below the eye socket) sinus in their head and air sacs that move air through a fixed lung. This leaves them susceptible to acute fungal infections. Remember that in addition to flooding, low ventilation (where air turnover is insufficient) and rapid changes in temperature are often considered triggers for respiratory distress.

Tips for Parrots in Post-Flood Conditions

  1. If possible, relocate your parrot to a safe area that has not been impacted by flooding. This may be with a family member, friend or veterinarian.
  2. Be aware of the symptoms of respiratory distress in parrots (see below) and immediately get your parrot to an avian vet if they are exhibiting any of them.
  3. Keep them on a balanced diet. Do not have them strictly on a seed-only or home-cooked foods diet. Make sure they have a diet of which at least 50% includes green and orange veggies, Nutri-Berries and Avi-Cakes.
  4. Keep their cages clean by changing papers frequently.
  5. Put some vinegar in their water to keep it more acidic and check their food bowls to ensure mold spores are not growing in sprouts or other foods.

Symptoms of Respiratory Distress in Parrots

  • Difficult or open-mouth breathing
  • Weakness or inability to stay on their perch
  • Quiet or lethargic behavior
  • Tail bobbing
  • Restless or disoriented behavior
  • Tremors or an uneven or wobbly gait
  • Frequent drinking and urination or abnormal feces
  • Gray or bluish looking feet and/or beak
  • Change in voice, reluctance to talk, or “clicking” sounds