Worms – gross.
It’s one thing to see a worm on the ground but to think about them crawling in and infesting our bodies is terrifying and disgusting.
Unfortunately, worms are more common in the human body than we’d like to think.
They’re also extremely common in dogs and cats.
Regardless of how clean we keep our home, our pets can come into contact with some pretty nasty stuff.
When they do, it’s possible for worms or parasites to infest their body.
But what about our parrot?
Are our parrots susceptible to worms?
And do they need worming?
The answer to this question is yes. Our parrots do need worming (or de-worming as it is also called). There are a variety of different worms that can take over your parrots body including roundworm, flukes, and tapeworm. Deworming, also referred to as drenching, is the process of giving your parrot a medication to help rid them of such parasites.
But how do parrots get worms?
How do you know if your parrot has worms?
And are worms transferable to humans?
Today we will answer all of these questions and more so let’s not waste another minute.
What are worms?
Worms are a type of parasite that can enter into a body and infect the host.
In the case of a parrot, they can enter into the body of the parrot and take up residence in their intestines.
Once inside of the intestines, these worms feed off of your parrots blood or the food inside of the intestine.
The result is a wide range of different unwanted symptoms (that we will speak about later).
There are a variety of different worms that can infest your parrot’s body.
Included within these are roundworm, capillaria, and tapeworm to name just a few.
Let’s learn a little bit more about each of these different types.
There are a variety of different species of Roundworm including A. galli, A columbae, and A. platyceri, each of which can affect our parrots.
Roundworm eggs come in the form of a thick shell and can survive for many months in the right environment.
Parrots become infected when they ingest eggs that contain larvae.
The worms will then burrow into the intestinal tract causing many unwanted symptoms.
The entire life cycle of a roundworm takes approximately 3 weeks after which adults can then lay more eggs.
These eggs are passed through the parrot’s droppings and can then be passed on to other birds who come into contact with the droppings.
Adult parrots are typically more immune to roundworms than younger parrots whom can be greatly affected by this type of worm.
Capillaria is another type of worm that can affect your parrot. It is more commonly referred to as a hair worm.
These worms are very thin and tend to burrow very deep into the small intestine and esophagus.
There are many different species of Capillaria, each of which can affect a different species of bird.
With that being said this type of worm is known to cause ulcers and can lead to serious disease if not treated.
Any bird that eats food that may have come into contact with other bird droppings is at risk of becoming infected with this type of worm.
They can also be picked up through earthworms.
Tapeworms are a common type of worm that affect both parrots and dogs.
These worms are flat and their eggs are large enough to be seen with the naked eye.
With that being said, tapeworms are not passed on a regular basis and may therefore be more difficult to spot.
They are commonly picked up when a bird eats insects or invertebrate.
There are a variety of different tapeworm species that can affect your parrot and they often lead to loose droppings or mild illness.
Keep in mind that these are just a few of the many different types of worms that can infest your parrot.
Deworming can help to prevent your parrot from becoming ill from these species as well as other species of worm.
What causes worms?
There are a variety of different things that can cause worms in parrots.
Poor sanitation and poor hygiene are causes, but even parrots in clean environments can be infected with worms.
Parrots can get worms from consuming contaminated water, contaminated food, or contaminated soil.
They can also get worms if they come into contact with contaminated feces.
If you feed your worm insects, contaminated insects can also lead to worm infestations.
How do you know if your parrot has worms?
Sometimes your parrot can have worms without displaying any outwardly symptoms.
With that being said, there are some signs to look for that can signal your parrot may have a worm infestation:
Worms or eggs in the droppings of your parrot
unexplained weight loss
plucking at their feathers
excessive crying, especially in young parrots.
In some cases, severe intestinal or respiratory blockages can occur which can lead to death.
This is why it is important to have your bird dewormed regularly and to have them seen by a veterinarian if you suspect that they may be carrying worms.
How can you prevent and treat worms?
Unfortunately there is no way to completely prevent worms.
With that being said, there are things that you can do to reduce your parrot’s risk.
Mainly, supplying them with a clean and disinfected environment.
Keeping your parrot away from other birds can also help to prevent worms, but will not completely eliminate the risk.
Worming is the best way to ensure that your parrot does not become ill from worms.
When your parrot is wormed, your veterinarian will give them a special medication to eliminate any worms that may be living within their body.
Even if your parrot lives alone and does not have contact with other birds, you should still have them wormed.
Parrots can get worms through new perches, new cage mates, and even natural toys.
Worms can also be given to parrots through their owners or other pets if they are infected.
As a general recommendation, you should have your parrots dewormed every 3 to 6 months.
Can my Parrot pass worms to me?
Yes. Humans are not exempt from infestation of worms.
The most common intestinal parasite to be passed onto humans from parrots is roundworm.
It’s not uncommon for a human to become infected after cleaning up a parrot feces.
If one of the eggs ends up on the humans hands and accidentally becomes ingested, they can then become infected with worms.
Just as they do in parrots, these eggs can hatch within the intestinal tract and travel to various tissues in the body.
Depending on where the worms travel, serious infections can arise.
Humans with worms can experience abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, gas and bloating, unexplained weight loss, and fatigue.
What medications are used to treat worms in parrots?
The type of medication used to treat worms in your parrot will depend on what type of worm your parrot is infected with.
Common medications used to kill worms include Levamisole, ivermectin, and moxidectin
These medications are commonly used to treat roundworm,
Capillaria, and other types of worms like gapeworm.
The most common treatment for tapeworm is Praziquantel.
The exact dosage and formulation of the medication provided will vary depending on what type of parrot you have.
Always be sure to follow veterinarian recommendations when providing your parrot with any type of medication.
In conclusion, yes you need to worm your parrot.
In fact you should worm your parrot every 3 to 6 months.
Worming can not only help to prevent your parrot from becoming infected with worms but can also help to dispel any worms that may already be in their system.
Not only is this important for your parrot’s health and safety but it’s also important for your own as worms can be transferred from our pets into our own bodies.