Living with your pet can lead to many concerns especially the likelihood of transmission of illness between you and the pet.
You are not wrong to have some fears about disease transmission between you and your pet.
Animals and birds have been known to transmit the disease to humans and vice versa.
Whether it is a common cold or any other kind of zoonotic disease, it is important for you to know in order to keep your pet healthy.
Can parrots catch a cold from you? No, this has not been proven. While you may wonder if your family’s cold could affect your parrot, you should be at ease to know that the majority of human viruses, including the human cold, are not contagious to birds.
This doesn’t mean, however, that you should allow the mouth to beak contact with your parrot just because you cannot pass cold to them, as some of the yeasts, germs, and bacteria found in our mouths can really harm your bird.
In many cases, when you see your parrot cough or sneezes, it may actually be imitating you or one of your family members who have a cold virus.
After all, parrots are great at imitating.
Nevertheless, if you or one of your family menders develop a cold virus, it is still important to take caution with your parrot.
While your parrot cannot get cold from you, it can get respiratory infections with the same symptoms.
The most common causes of respiratory infection in parrots are chlamydophila and mycoplasma.
Symptoms are quite similar to those of colds, including sneezing, watery eyes, coughing, and runny nose.
Is it safe to be around my parrot when I have a cold?
Though you can’t transmit the cold virus to your parrot, you may still want to keep your distance when handling your parrot.
This is because you might have developed a bacterial infection from your cold, and symptoms such as sore throat, congestion, or the flu can be transmitted to your parrot.
If you have a cold, be sure to keep in contact with your parrot to a minimum and wash your hands thoroughly before and after cleaning your bird’s cage or handling its meals.
Also, avoid sneezing or coughing near your parrot cage and don’t touch your pet bird before you are fully recovered.
Can parrots catch a cold?
Parrots have a fever called parrot fever, and unlike the human cold, which cannot be passed to parrots, this kind of parrot fever can be transmitted to humans.
Parrot fever is caused by a type of bacteria known as chlamydia psittaci.
This infection is also known as psittacosis or parrot disease.
Humans can catch parrot fever by handling a sick bird or breathing in fine particles of its droppings, urine, and other bodily excretions.
You can also catch parrot fever if the bird bites or kisses you.
Parrot fever can also be transmitted from one person to another, after getting it from the bird.
How can I recognize parrot fever?
Parrots with this fever may not show any symptoms.
They can even carry the bacteria for several months before any symptoms reveal.
Infected parrots may have difficulty breathing or shiver.
Other symptoms to look out for include:
Discharge from nose or eyes
Sleepiness and lethargy
Your parrot may also eat less or stop eating entirely.
How do parrots get parrot fever?
Your parrot does not have to have contact with other birds that have been infected by the bacteria that cause parrot fever for it to get it.
While they cannot catch a cold from humans, parrot fever or psittacosis can be transmitted from humans to parrots and vice versa.
They can also be infected by airborne particles, fomites on water and food bowls, feces, and other things that have been in contact with a parrot with psittacosis.
How can I diagnose parrot fever?
Parrot fever has the same symptoms as a number of other diseases in birds, and so, special tests are required to diagnose the fever.
The avian vet will typically look for the presence of C. psittaci.
Detection of antigens and nucleic acids, various serological tests, looking at tissues under a microscope, and cultures may be performed by your bird’s vet to diagnose your parrot with the fever.
The bacterium can be found in several places in your parrot, including liver, feces, lungs, spleen, kidneys, the choana, excretions from the eyes, cloaca, and tissue covering the heart called the pericardium.
How can I prevent my parrot from getting respiratory infections?
The first thing you need to do is ensure your bird eats foods that help boost the immune system.
This includes vitamin A-rich foods.
A lack of vitamin A can lead to weak lining of the respiratory tract, making it easy for a bacterial attack.
Ensure you reduce your exposure to other pet birds; especially those locked in one place such as poultry, and maintain good personal hygiene.
In short, if you have a bacterial infection, you could get your parrot sick, but if you are suffering from a virus, then your parrot is safe.