Does My Budgie Have Fatty Liver Disease?

blue budgie next to bird food metal box
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Jeanne Writes:

 

I have an adorable budgie named Peanut. 

 

His beak started to grow about a  year ago and I wanted to know what I could do to reverse this if it is possible, I know that means he has a fatty liver.

 

The beak constantly needs to be trimmed and it is crumbly.

 

Do you have any suggestions?

 

Catherine Responds:

 

Dear Jeanne

 

I am very sorry to hear about your budgie not being well.

 

Yes, an overgrown beak is often a sign of fatty liver disease.

 

I am concerned about it being crumbly. That may indicate other illnesses.

 

Examples of these are psittacine beak and feather disease (PBFD), avian pox and scaly leg and face mites.

 

If PFBD is the problem then it is best that you don’t expose other birds to him and just enjoy your little bird the best you can for the rest of his life.

 

 

 

MitchR adds:

 

I’m sorry to hear of the problems you’re having Jeanne.

 

Overgrown beaks can be an indication of fatty liver disease a.k.a. Hepatic Lipidosis.

 

Any bird can get it but it’s mostly seen in Amazons, lovebirds, budgies, and cockatiels.

 

An all-seed diet along with little or no exercise can be contributory.

 

A malnourished bird has a reduced immune system making it more likely that it can get ill.

 

Liver disease can be triggered by tumors, circulatory disturbances, metabolic disorders, nutritional deficiencies (like an all-seed diet) and toxins from molds, plants and other chemicals.

 

Other symptoms to look for are

  • Feather plucking
  • Not wanting to exercise, diarrhea
  • Obesity
  • Oily feathers
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Wobbliness
  • Depression.

 

Only your avian vet can determine if your budgie suffers from fatty liver disease or something else.

 

He or she will use bloodwork ultrasounds, biopsies, and x-rays.

 

The good news is it’s treatable but it could take a while for the bird to return the original state.

 

The bird might need medication that would lower blood ammonia levels as well as the treatment of secondary infections.

 

I hope that helps.

 

All the best

 

MitchR

 

Author:

He's handled a 1000 birds of numerous species when they would visit their monthly birdie brunch in the old Portage Park (Chicago, IL) facility. The one with the parrot playground. Mitch has written and published more than 1100 articles on captive bird care. He's met with the majority of  CEO's and business owners for most brands in the pet bird space and does so on a regular basis. He also constantly interacts with avian veterinarians and influencers globally.

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