How to apply eye drops in a parrot’s eye

Parrot Eye Problems

Parrots and other birds have amazing eyes. Their eyes make all of the filters and editing options on your Iphone seem simple. Just check out this video to learn about the complex features of birds eyes:

Just like you and I, birds can develop parrot eye problems. What do you do if your bird has eye problems or discharge?

Parrot Eye Problems Often Need Medical Attention

While parrot eye problems are usually quite painful, they are usually not imminently life threatening. Never the less, we suggest that you take a trip to the vet within 24 hours whenever you spot parrot eye problems. Why? because the underlying condition, such as conjunctivitis, sinusitis, mites, infection or other problems can progress fast and can be deadly. Minor problems can become big problems quickly so get your bird to the vet ASAP. Your goal is to prevent the condition from worsening and to prevent permanent blindness.

Take a good look at your birds’ eye when it is normal. You’ll note a bright, clear eye-ball with open eye-lids and no discharge like the lovebirds eye on the left.

This bird is has swelling around the nares a caused by Vitamin A Deficiency. This issue could quickly spread to the eyes. Photo by Arizona Exotic Animal Hospital, Mesa AZ

Parrot Eye Problem Symptoms

  • Swollen or red eye-lids
  • Lids closed or partially closed
  • Increased blinking
  • Squinting
  • Excessive tearing, wet or dried discharge or even eyes matted shut
  • Cloudy cornea that is opaque or bluish in color
  • Rubbing the eye, beak or the side of the face on their wing or perch

How to get a good look at parrot eye problems

If you suspect parrot eye problems, take a closer look.Holding your birds head steady, like in the photo above, get a closer look. It could be something caught in your birds eye. See if you can get someone to help you capture your pet and carefully examine the affected eye area. These items from your bird first aid kit may be helpful.

  • Towel
  • Flashlight
  • Rubber gloves
  • Magnifying glass
  • Saline Solution
  • Cotton Balls

Put on sterile rubber gloves. Using a clean towel to gently restrain your bird a flash light and a magnifying glass (or magnifying app on your phone) to assist you in examine both of your bird’s eyes.

Gently capture your bird and restrain it holding the head steady with the effected eye up. Using the flashlight and magnifying glass, look for any foreign object in the eye. Is there discharge from the eye? Do you notice swelling or redness? Compare the suspected eye with the other eye. Sometimes, both eyes are affected.

Determine if the cornea is cloudy or opaque looking. If so, take your bird to the veterinarian quickly. Keep your bird out of drafts or direct sunlight until you can get medical treatment. Self-medicating with over the counter medications is not recommended until your vet determines the cause of the eye problem.

If you don’t see any discharge, gently open the birds’ eye and look for a foreign body. Foreign bodies like a seed husk can be painful. Flush the eye out well with sterile saline solution or eye wash. You can use a syringe filled with sterile water if you don’t have eye wash available. Gently open and close the eye lids to work the foreign body toward the corner of the eye or to make it more visible. Once you see the foreign body, use a moistened cotton ball to gently wipe the item away. Be extremely careful not to scratch your birds’ eye.

You’ll want to get your bird to the veterinarian as soon as you suspect a parrot eye problem, preferably the same day, to avoid further vision deterioration. You may moisten a cotton ball with saline solution to hold to the eye keeping moist while you transport your bird to the vet.

Four Common Health Issues That Can Affect Eyes:


Also known as avian tuberculosis, mycobacteriosis is a bacterial infection that is often difficult to treat and often proves fatal. Primary symptoms include weight loss and diarrhea. Some infected parrots develop eye masses and external and internal masses. Mycobacteriosis is transmissible to humans so always wear rubber gloves when treating or handling your sick parrot. Anyone who suffers from a compromised immune system should not handle the bird.


Psittacosis, also known as chlamydiosis or parrot fever, might cause discharge from the eyes and nose. In addition, you may notice breathing difficulties, depression, and appetite loss. An otherwise chatty bird may become quiet and lethargic. Isolate your bird from other birds in the household, follow doctors orders and administer medications and keep his surroundings as stress-free as possible. Please note that your vet may be required to report the disease to the authorities.


Salmonellosis, or an infection by some type of salmonella bacteria, primarily affects the intestines, but infected parrots might experience swollen eyelids or conjunctivitis. The latter is an inflammation of the eyelid’s lining. Your vet will determine what type of salmonella is affecting your bird via a fecal sample. She’ll then prescribe the appropriate antibiotics. Most parrots recover from salmonella infection.

Vitamin A Deficiency (VAD)

Vitamin A deficiency in parrots is more common than you think and the symptoms are both alarming and miserable. All sized captive birds are prone to this disease. This highly treatable disorder is also highly preventable. Affected parrots vitamin A in their diets display a variety of symptoms. Swelling around the eye(s) from Vitamin A Deficiency is known as a periorbital abscess. Secondary infections, usually respiratory and affecting the eyes, often occur because of the deficiency. You may also notice diarrhea, appetite loss, mouth abscesses, depression and tail-bobbing.

Seen in parrots on seed and nut diets, this painful disorder is correctable with a healthy diet such as Harrison’s High Potency and supplements such as UnRuffledRx Red Palm Oilcan help prevent VAD.





Burkett, Greg. Avian First Aid: Be Your Bird’s First Responder! DVD.

Hawcroft, Tim. First Aid for Birds: The Essential, Quick Reference Guide. Howell Book House. 1994.

Symptoms of eye infections

  • Infected birds may have red, swollen, runny or crusty eyes. In severe cases, the eyes become swollen shut and the bird becomes blind and unable to fend for itself
  • Birds with conjunctivitis may also suffer from associated respiratory problems, which can result in death

These would be the possible reasons for your canary to develop an eye infection:

  • Bacterial or viral infection

1. Conjunctivitis is a common eye disorder, which is usually caused by bacteria and can be identified as red and swollen eyelids. Conjunctivitis is also a symptom of many other medical problems, including respiratory infections.

2. Mycoplasma infection also causes conjunctivitis with the symptoms of swollen eyelids, ocular and nasal discharge, impaired vision, depression, and weight loss. Once birds have been infected, they become carriers and remain infectious for life. Infected Canaries can transmit the disease through their eggs to the chicks, further perpetuating the disease.

3. Fungal Infection of the eye can also lead to bird eye disorder. One common fungus, Aspergillus, infects the bird’s respiratory system, but can also affect brain and eyes. The infected eye will show yellow plaques under the eyelid. The eye will also have inflammation, and if left untreated, this infection can result in severe eye damage

  • Vitamin A and E deficiency

Vitamin deficiency is another cause of eye disorders in birds. For instance, a deficiency in vitamin E in the parent can lead to the birth of a blind chick, and vitamin A is required for proper pigmentation and tearing of the eyes.

  • Dirty cages/perches
  • Eye injuries


  • Contact between susceptible birds or infected surfaces (like feeders) .An unproven theory is that birds can be infected by contact with asymptomatic carriers (birds carrying Mycoplasma, but not showing symptoms).

Treatment of eye infection

  • The first step involves isolating the canary from other birds
  • In case of a simple eye infection, treat the bird with an antibiotic ointment like Polysporin eye drops, or apply antibiotic eye drops such as Terramycin, Tobramycin or TriOptic-S. This treatment may resolve the problem without using oral antibiotic treatments
  • If the cause is a sinus problem oral antibiotics may be prescribed in addition to eye ointments. Many cases have responded well to Tylosin. Tylan and Baytril are frequently prescribed, but some other antibiotics may work just as well.
  • If it is Mycoplasma treat the birds with Tylosine or Doxycicline antibiotics
  • Colloidal silver is also used as a natural remedy for eye infection
  • Add Vitamin A supplements in the recovery process
  • Contact a Veterinarian before using an antibiotic treatment to the Canaries and follow Vet’s instructions on how to use them
  • Quarantine new birds for at least two weeks. If you see eye problems in any of your birds, remove the bird from the flock and watch carefully for respiratory problems.
  • To prevent your canary from developing an eye infection, maintain a clean bird cage and disinfect the cages and perches
  • Provide a rich diet of Vitamin supplements to birds
  • Added garlic and Apple Cider Vinegar in water, which are great for building the immune system

I hope this information will help controlling eye infection for your Canaries.

Anyone ingesting Visine should get medical attention or contact a poison control center immediately. Ingesting Visine was shown to be lethal regarding the case of Lana Clayton who killed her husband by administering Visine to his drinks over a period of three days in July 2018.

Can eye drops upset your stomach?

Generally speaking, antibiotic eye drops that are used to treat eye infections are not going to cause stomach upset.

Can eye drops affect the throat?

Many patients report that eye drops can cause a funny taste in the back of their throat after placing the drops in their eyes. This makes sense as the eye drops drain into the tear ducts, then into the nose, and then into the throat where they can be tasted.

Do eye drops get into your bloodstream?

When you put drops in your eye, the drops can become “pumped” into the tear system if you blink. Once in contact with the vascular nasal mucosa, relatively rapid absorption of drugs into the bloodstream can occur. The drops can act as a systemic “bolus” – an infusion of the drug into the bloodstream.

Can Tetrahydrozoline be detected?

Unfortunately, toxicology screening using immunoassays and thin layer chromatography does not detect tetrahydrozoline; however, when the screening is performed using gas chromatography and mass spectrometry (GC-MS), tetrahydrozoline is easily detectable.

Can eye drops make your eyes worse?

Also called decongestant drops, they can help clear the redness out of your eyes. But use with caution. If you put them in for more than a few days, they can irritate your eyes and make the redness even worse.

Why do I taste eyedrops in my throat?

You may get a taste of eye drops in your mouth, or a feeling that the drops are running down your throat. This is normal as the tear duct which drains tears to your nose will also drain some of the eye drop. To prevent this gently press on the tear duct for a minute or so after applying the drop.

Can antibiotic eye drops have side effects?

Stinging/burning of the eyes for a minute or two or temporary blurred vision may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

What does eye drops in Coke do?

The main ingredient reduces redness in the eyes, but when ingested, it can rapidly reach the blood and central nervous system.

How do you get eye drops to go down your throat?

To prevent eye drops from leaking into your nose and throat, gently apply pressure to the inner corner of your eye.

What is the correct way to put eye drops in your eyes?

Step 3: Place the drops into your eye

  1. Tilt your head back slightly and look up.
  2. Use one hand to pull your lower eyelid down, away from the eye.
  3. Hold the dropper tip directly over the eyelid pocket.
  4. Don’t touch the bottle to your eye or eyelid.
  5. Squeeze the bottle gently and let the eye drop fall into the pocket.

What does prednisone do for eyes?

Ophthalmic prednisolone reduces the irritation, redness, burning, and swelling of eye inflammation caused by chemicals, heat, radiation, infection, allergy, or foreign bodies in the eye. It sometimes is used after eye surgery. Prednisolone is in a class of medications called steroids.

Should you close your eyes after eye drops?

If you have both drops and ointment, use the drops first. If you don’t, the ointment may keep the eye drops from being absorbed. If you have more than one type of drop, wait about 5 minutes after the first medicine before you use the second. Keep your eyes closed for a few minutes.

What happens if I put too many eye drops in?

Prolonged use of these eye drops can cause increased eye dryness, redness, and irritation — the very symptoms that make the eyes dependent on the drops.

How long does eye drops stay in your system?

Once your doctor puts in the dilating drops, it takes about 20–30 minutes for your pupils to fully open, or dilate. After your eyes are fully dilated, the effects will last for four to six hours for most people. Some people feel the effects of dilating drops for longer, including people with lighter color eyes.

Used for a wide range of eye infections including conjunctivitis, keratitis, pink eye, corneal ulcer, blepharitis, and bacterial inflammatory conditions like distemper.

A broad-spectrum antibiotic for topical use in the treatment of ocular infections. Indicated for the prophylaxis and local treatment of superficial ocular infections due to oxytetracycline- and polymyxin-sensitive organisms, including infections due to streptococci, rickettsiae, E. coli, and A. aerogenes, such as conjunctivitis, keratitis, pink eye, corneal ulcer, blepharitis in birds, dogs, cats, cattle, sheep, and horses; ocular infections due to secondary bacterial complications of distemper in dogs, and bacterial inflammatory conditions which may occur secondary to other infectious diseases in the above species.

Terramycin (oxytetracycline HCl) is an antibiotic, bright yellow in color, possessing potent antimicrobial activity. It is one of the most versatile of the broad-spectrum antibiotics, and is effective in the treatment of infections due to gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, both aerobic and anaerobic, the spirochetes, the rickettsiae, and certain of the larger viruses. Polymyxin B sulfate is one of a group of related antibiotics derived from Bacillus polymyxa. The polymyxins are rapidly bactericidal, this action being exclusively against gram-negative bacteria.
The broad-spectrum effectiveness of terramycin against both gram-positive and gram-negative organisms is enhanced by the particular effectiveness of polymyxin B against infections associated with gram-negative organisms, especially those due to Pseudomonas aeruginosa, where polymyxin B is the antibiotic of choice. In addition, there is evidence to indicate that polymyxin B sulfate possesses some antifungal activity. The combined antibacterial effect of terramycin plus polymyxin is at least additive and, in many instances, an actual synergistic action is obtained.

Active Ingredient(s) each gram of TERRAMYCIN OPHTHALMIC OINTMENT with polymyxin B sulfate* contains Terramycin (oxytetracycline HCl).

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Saved my dog’s eyes

By bcooley1983 on Aug 15, 2020

Drops are helping his dry eye. I have a crazy pug. Kept rubbing his face over everything. Called his vet and they suggested eye drops. Since there isn’t any infection I purchased this product. Stopped wiping face when I started using them.

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By charlie1 on Mar 9, 2020

I bought these drops after speaking to the manufacturer and reading about them. They did not work well for my dog, who needs eye drops 2x daily for life.I would not buy again.

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Works great

By Dorilynn on Sep 28, 2020

Chewy has all you need for your pets in one spot and they ship fast. The eye drops and probiotics are great

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Soothing eye drops

By Mark on Aug 24, 2020

Our 9-yr old female Yorkie has very dry eyes. These drops provide good lubrication and she looks forward to them. Expensive, but worth it.

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Saved my dog’s eyes

By bcooley1983 on Aug 15, 2020

Drops are helping his dry eye. I have a crazy pug. Kept rubbing his face over everything. Called his vet and they suggested eye drops. Since there isn’t any infection I purchased this product. Stopped wiping face when I started using them.

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By QUINN on Jul 29, 2020

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Good for dry eyes but doesn’t help any if they have stopped producing tears.

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If you’re looking for an eye drop that’s really a gel this is it. Easier to apply and it stays in the eye to do its job. Most “gel” drops are still just a liquid and when applied run down their face not staying in the eye to lubricate. Girls eyes are doing much better now.

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By Pugmom on Jun 12, 2020

Great product! My dog has one eye that doesn’t produce tears well due to old age. The eye gets uncomfortable and a bit sunken. The drops had an effect within the first day. After a few days, that eye no longer had that sunken look to it. She’s rubbing it much less now, and there is less goo in the corner. (She didn’t have an infection, just dry eye goo.) And the drops obviously don’t irritate or sting, because she’s very relaxed when it’s time to get them. I am going to use them regularly from here on out.

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Learning how to apply eye drops to your dog’s eyes is an important skill to have, especially if they really don’t like you doing it.

Learn some techniques, tips and tricks to help you medicate your dog’s eye without a battle!

How to apply eye drops in a parrot's eye

how to apply dog eye drops

My final question today is from Catalina, who says, “Hi, I have a question. My friend is having a really hard time to apply eye drops to her Pug. Can you run through how to do this so that the Pug doesn’t get too stressed ‘cause she’s already running away and hiding every time as soon as she sees the drops and won’t even accept treats. She has to take them every day for the rest of her life. So, can you help?”

How to give a challenging dog eye drops

Get your vet to demonstrate

Try different eye drops

Get used to handling with positive reinforcement

Explore alternative treatment options

Get your vet to demonstrate

To start with I’m going to suggest you to ask the vet or nursing team to demonstrate how they are applying the drops. It may be that they’ve got some specific tricks that this dog is going to get on well with.

Even just seeing and being shown how to handle the medication and how to hold the eye open and hold the dog’s head can be really helpful. It is tricky and it does take a little bit of practice.

It’s definitely a situation where having a few more hands to help is beneficial because one person can help hold the head still and open the eye while the other person can administer the eye drops. It’s something that you can do by yourself, but like I say, it does take a little bit of practice so ask your vet or nursing team for a demonstration.

Try different eye drops

The next thing to suggest is to see if there are any alternative topical medication options. Either a different drug, a different type of drug, or a different consistency.

You might find that actually having a liquid drop is easier than applying a gel, or vice-versa. Some people prefer gels to liquid drops and your dog might also prefer a change in the product.

Warm the medication

Next up is to warm up the drops in your pocket before applying them.

So very often, certainly with long-term medications, they might need to be kept in the fridge. Applying cold drops to the eye can be quite an uncomfortable or strange sensation. So warming them in your pocket before actually applying them might help make them a little bit more comfortable for your dog’s eye.

Get your dog used to handling

We really need to try and get an association between having treats, and having a good experience, with having the eye drops administered.

Start by giving tiny treats that you know your dog will like. Then move on to giving treats while touching your dog’s cheek or their chin. So not handling their eyes, not trying to administer any medication, but just getting used to being given treats while they’re being handled.

Slowly work your way closer to the eye. Then start supporting the head a little bit more firmly. Start holding the head while you’re giving treats. Again, maybe not handling the eye specifically, but giving treats, holding the head and opening the eye again without administering medication.

Hopefully this won’t take too long, but it might take a couple of weeks before your dog is comfortable with this. You’ll need to be certain that this isn’t going to be a problem which will depend a bit on why the drops are being given in the first place.

Once a dog is happy with this handling, start applying the eye drops, all the while trying to distract them with treats. You can even do one eye at a time, have a half-hour break, and then administer drops in the other eye.

And hopefully if we take this step-wise approach, the dog will get used to having the eye medication, will actually learn to associate it with having treats, and it will no longer be a battle.

How to apply eye drops in a parrot's eye

Alternative treatment options

If we’ve done all those things, so we’ve tried different consistency medication, we’re warming it up, we’re trying to give treats, and you’re still really struggling to give eye medication to your dog then you really need to have an honest chat with your vet.

You need to let them know and then you need to talk about any other alternative treatment options.

I don’t know why this eye needs constant medication and lifelong medication, but you need to ask, are there any alternative treatments that might work? Are there any surgeries even that might be beneficial?

We shouldn’t be ashamed of admitting that your really struggling. Our pets, be they dog or cat, often don’t let us do everything that we would like them to let us do or everything that we really ideally would need to do. But, there are often other ways. There are often other things that we can do to try and treat the same condition.

So be open with your vet. Don’t be ashamed or don’t think that they’ll think less of you, as being a bad owner or anything like that. I can only help my patients and help my clients if I know that they’re struggling. So be open with your vet and have a chat with them.

Together you can come up with a treatment strategy that will suit you and your dog!

The above is a transcript taken from “The Dr Alex Answers Show”.

If you would like me to answer any question you have about your pet’s health, simply fill in this form and I’ll try and get you the information that you need. It’s that simple!

When your dog is dealing with eye irritation and/or similar concerns, it becomes important to find a reasonable way to alleviate their symptoms. This is why more and more dog owners take the time to go through a wide array of eye drops for dogs. For those in this situation, it’s always smart to ask, can I use Refresh eye drops on my dog?

Refresh eye drops are good for dogs and do provide relief when used as directed. It’s recommended to make sure to use the eye drops gently and ensure they are going into the dog’s eyes.

When used the right way, Refresh eye drops are perfect for dogs and will get rid of their symptoms.

The benefits include:

  • Easy to Use
  • Safe
  • Good in Small Amounts
  • Fast Relief

When asking, “Can I use Refresh eye drops on my dog?” you are going to have one eye on how quickly things work. You will want to make sure the dog’s eye symptoms go away and that is only going to happen when you are using the safest eye drops for dogs.

This is why a lot of dog owners lean on Refresh eye drops for dogs.

They simply work well and are ideal for those who want to do things the right way.

For more on the question, “Can I use Refresh eye drops on my dog?” this article will focus on the benefits of using Refresh eye drops for dogs and why they are a must with specific eye symptoms.

Table of Contents

Best Eye Drops for Dogs (EDITOR’S CHOICE)

How to apply eye drops in a parrot's eye

  • Dual-action formula lubricates and hydrates
  • Relieves mild symptoms of eye dryness
  • Works fast by delivering soothing moisture

Last update on 2021-04-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Benefits of Refresh Eye Drops for Dogs

1. Gentle on the Eyes

The first benefit comes in the form of how it impacts the dog’s eyes.

When using Refresh eye drops, the dog’s condition is going to improve because it will not agitate them. A lot of dogs can get nervous with something like this going into their eyes. However, Refresh eye drops are gentle on the eyes making them easier to apply.

Most dogs will not have a problem with these types of eye drops being used.

Please note, it’s still important to follow the directions. If you are someone that is asking, “Can I use Refresh eye drops on my dog?” then you will already be aware of doing it the right way.

In the beginning, it’s recommended to take your time applying the eye drops and make sure the dog isn’t moving. This includes holding them in front of you and applying the eye drops from a higher position.

This makes it easier to see where the eye drops are going.

How to apply eye drops in a parrot's eye

2. Fast Relief

The goal of using eye drops is to provide relief.

The reason many vets will recommended Refresh eye drops has to do with fast relief.

If the dog is dealing with any type of eye irritation, these eye drops will do wonders. Dry eyes in dogs can be frustrating and will cause them to become confused.

With these eye drops, the dog is going to feel better and this will improve their quality of life immediately.

Take the time to ask “Can I use Refresh eye drops on my dog?” because it will let you know more about what these eye drops can do for your dog.

The change is going to be noticeable and worthwhile.

How to apply eye drops in a parrot's eye

3. Easy to Use

Dog owners will want to use eye drops that are easy to apply i na dog’s eyes.

This is the bare minimum.

You are not going to have a lot of trouble with Refresh eye drops for dogs. They will work well and are going to be easy to apply.

You should easily get the eye drops in within seconds.

This efficiency is why most dog owners lean towards Refresh eye drops for dogs in the first place. The right eye drops for your dogs are the ones that are easy to use.

Related Questions

1. Can I Use Human Eye Drops On My Dog?

Human eye drops are safe for dogs and can be used to lubricate dry eyes. It’s important to make sure the eye drops are certified and applied correctly to improve the dog’s condition.

2. Can I Give My Dog Lubricant Eye Drops?

Lubricant eye drops are an ideal solution for a dog’s eyes and will help alleviate dry eyes. It’s recommended to find the right type of eye drops to make sure the dog sees an improvement in their condition.

Final Thoughts

Can I use Refresh eye drops on my dog?

There is nothing wrong with use human eye drops for dogs including Refresh eye drops. These are well-made, certified, and perfect for your dog’s health.

Please remember, it is still important to read the directions and use the eye drops properly.

How to apply eye drops in a parrot's eye

How to apply eye drops in a parrot's eye

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What are Conjunctivitis?

An eye infection can affect any kind of bird, including house finches, cockatiels, parakeets, cockatoos, mynahs, songbirds, wild birds, and many others. The broad range of possible causes can make a diagnosis difficult. While a piece of feed lodged near the conjunctiva can cause the irritation and discharge often seen, more serious causes, such as a viral or bacterial infection, can further compromise the health of your bird. Recognizing the symptoms and getting medical help promptly can save not only your bird’s eyesight, but also his life.

Birds can contract a bacterial infection in the conjunctiva, or the membrane that surrounds the eyes. This tissue will become swollen and irritated, and the infection can spread to other parts of the eye and upper respiratory system. Conjunctivitis is most often a symptom of another health problem.

Symptoms of Conjunctivitis in Birds

Due to the many causes of conjunctivitis, relaying all the symptoms you see to your veterinarian can help point to the reason your bird’s eyes are infected, as some symptoms are indicative of certain conditions. Most signs are related to the eyes, sinuses, and upper respiratory tract, and can include:

  • Swollen, red and irritated eyes
  • Crusty eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Cloudy or glassy eyes
  • Upper respiratory infection
  • Sinusitis
  • Eye or nostril discharge
  • Facial swelling
  • Tearing
  • Sneezing
  • Swollen sinuses
  • Inflammation in the eyelids
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Weakness in eyelid
  • Deposits on cornea
  • Blindness
  • Starvation
  • Listlessness
  • Sit fluffed up
  • Reduced jaw tone
  • Crusty nodules on legs or face


Conjunctivitis is separated into three clinical groups.

  • The first group is comprised of cases where local factors have caused the infection, such as foreign bodies
  • The second group contains cases where conjunctivitis results from periorbital or orbital disease, and is often related to sinusitis
  • The third group contains those cases that are caused by septicemia, or blood poisoning; this usually results from an infectious organism, such as a parasite or bacteria

Conjunctivitis can be classified further into categories that name a type of bird infected, the infecting agent, or a characteristic symptom that results. These include:

  • Unilateral conjunctivitis – When only one eye or side of the face is affected
  • Cockatiel conjunctivitis – Conjunctivitis that affects cockatiels and may have a genetic component
  • Parasitic conjunctivitis – Infection caused by nematode and trematode parasites
  • Keratoconjunctivitis – A disease in parrots caused by chlamydiosis, a vitamin A deficiency, or from cage trauma

Causes of Conjunctivitis in Birds

There are various causes that can result in an irritated, red and inflamed eye, and an infection that can spread and eventually cause blindness. They include:

  • Bacteria, such as Staphylococcus spp., Corynebacterium spp., Escherichia coli, Chlamydia psittaci, Clostridium botulinum, or Mycoplasma spp.
  • Viruses, such as poxvirus, Newcastle virus, paramyxovirus, herpesvirus, adenovirus, pneumovirus
  • Fungus, such as Aspergillus spp. or Candida albicans
  • Parasites, such as nematodes, trematodes, or spirurids
  • Foreign bodies, such as seed husks, millet seeds, or feathers
  • Trauma or ulceration
  • Environmental toxin exposure, such as from cigarette smoke, chemicals, ammonia in feces, and other airborne toxins
  • Periorbital or orbital disease
  • Poor hygienic conditions
  • Vitamin A deficiency

Diagnosis of Conjunctivitis in Birds

After hearing a thorough history of your bird, and all symptoms presented, your veterinarian will conduct a careful examination of your bird’s eye and respiratory system to determine the cause of the conjunctivitis.

Swab samples are collected and tested from various locations, including the trachea, cloaca, choanae, sinuses, or eyes. Various staining can often isolate infectious agents. Blood samples are collected and tested. A PCR test can detect organisms. A Schirmer tear test can be performed to assess tear performance.

Direct or indirect ophthalmoscopy can be performed to detect any injuries, often accompanied by staining techniques. Electroretinography is used to analyze the functionality of the retina and detect orbital diseases. Various imaging techniques can also be used to evaluate the structures in the eyes and head, which can help lead to a diagnosis. These can include X-rays, ultrasounds, CT scans, and MRIs.

Treatment of Conjunctivitis in Birds

Treatment of conjunctivitis will aim to treat the infection while addressing the underlying cause.

The main treatment consists of saline flushes, accompanied by topical antibiotics, such as antibiotic ophthalmic ointments, or a spray containing tylosin, lincomycin, or spectinomycin. These topical antibiotics can relieve symptoms, but the infection can recur. Tylosin tartrate can also be added to drinking water. Oral antibiotics can be given to help treat respiratory symptoms. Treatment is generally given for 14 days, after which time, samples will be taken again and tested to assess your bird’s recovery.

The underlying cause will also need to be treated. Parasites can be removed manually, and antiparasitic drugs may be prescribed. Chlamydia psittaci can be treated with topical oxytetracycline. Lesions on the face or legs from the pox virus can be treated with topical iodine. Keratoconjunctivitis can benefit from topical medications that can include anti-inflammatories, as well as corneal bandaging to ensure a sterile healing environment. Any wounds will be treated appropriately.

Recovery of Conjunctivitis in Birds

Recovery of conjunctivitis is dependent on the severity and cause of the infection. While some birds recover after treatment, others can succumb to blindness and starvation. Euthanization can sometimes be recommended. Your bird may be given topical or oral medications to be administered up to 2 weeks, after which, he will be tested again. If your bird recovers, the infection may reoccur, so report any symptoms immediately to your veterinarian.

While a condition of this sort is impossible to predict, practicing good hygiene and sanitation can drastically reduce your bird’s chances of contracting infectious agents that can lead to an infection.

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