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Parasite diseases

Oral and gut parasites


  • Nematodes

Roundworms (ascarids) and thread worms (capillaric). These are common parasites of raptors. Capillaric affects the oral cavity producing white plaque lesions, they may also be found in the intestines. It’s mainly contracted from earthworms.

  • Cestodes

Tapeworms whilst occasionally found they rarely result in clinical disease.

  • Trematodes

Fluke – a number of species are found in raptors, however they are not common significance in the UK/Europe.

  • Protozoa

Trichomonas – coccidian, Trichotomies, a flagellated protozoa usually affects the lining of the mouth, throat, crop and oesophagus, often referred to as frounce. It is most commonly contracted from pigeons, and results in white yellowish necrotic lesions in the mouth and beyond.

Please note that the lesions caused by capillaric, trichotomies, coccidian and even some viral/bacterial infections in the mouth are NOT able to be distinguished without full microscopic extractions. We will not nor should you ever just treat such lesions without a specific diagnosis.


Skin and feather parasites:


  • Ticks

Whilst not causes of disease specifically they are vectors for various blood parasites (e.g. haemoproteus and babesia), and viruses / bacteria.

Control/prevention is available if required please contact us for advice.

  • Mites

Red mites and other poultry mites can affect raptors.

Control/prevention is available if required please contact us for advice.

  • Lice

Feather lice can be transferred from wild birds. Whilst usually removed during preening, heavy infestations can cause marked irritation. Treatment is available. 

  • Flies

Flat flies whilst not directly a problem, they are however vectors for disease as per ticks. Where seen they should be removed or treated.


Infectious Diseases;


Infectious diseases are widespread and varied but a summary of information is provided:-


  • Influenza A* – respiratory signs of varied severity.
  • Paramyxovirus 1* – neurological signs contracted from; poultry/pigeons/wild birds
  • Herpesvirus – anorexia, green urates, death.
  • West Mite Virus* – neurological signs, followed by sudden death within 48 hours. Spread via mosquitoes



  • Avian Tuberculosis* – long incubation time eventually showing with respiratory signs, chronic weight loss despite good appetites.
  • Pasteurella* – chronic respiratory or ocular disease
  • Chlamydophilla *– respiratory or gut signs (more info under psitticines)
  • Clostridia – diarrhoea, paralysis, and death, obtained from contaminated/rotten meat.
  • Salmonella – rarely reported



  • Aspergillosis – see under respiratory problems
  • Coccidiosis – common cause of oral cavity lesions


*Please note that these conditions are zoonotic and as such can transfer to humans.


Skin and Feather Disorders;


A brief list of parasitic courses of skin and feather disorders is available under parasite diseases.

Some additional causes of disorders include:-

  • Folliculitis

Commonly localised area presents with feather loss, damage or chewing.

Closer examination identifies swellings and inflammation of the level of the feather follicles. Mite infestations can present in similar ways if the focus of the response from the bird becomes localised.

  • Wounds -following trauma.

Often become infected requiring treatment.

  • Neoplasia -relatively common resulting in nodular or ulcerative skin lesions.
  • Wingtip Oedema- multi-functional resulting in a compromised blood supply to the wing tip causing necrosis and primary feather loss.


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