Inflammations of the upper parts of the respiratory tract from the larynx to syrinx do occur, but they are usually associated with sinusitis and coryza or pneumonia and inflammation of the airsacs. Bronchitis is a term which is frequently misused by bird owners to describe any condition affecting the voice or respiration. Although the bronchi may be involved in many respiratory diseases or in a septicaemia, bronchitis is seldom the only lesion present. Therefore the use of the term is almost always a great over-simplification of the situation. A tracheo-bronchitis usually accompanies gapeworm infestations and can be very severe in infectious viral laryngo-tracheitis, the bronchi also sometimes being involved. The latter infection, however, is confined to the domestic fowl and pheasants. Syringitis is also a common inflammatory change in several respiratory infections, causing loss of voice, or croaking, squeaking and whistling sounds according to the degree of swelling which is present. In budgerigars, pressure on the syrinx from thyroid enlargement or tumours in the confined space at the entrance to the thorax is the commonest cause of voice change. Generally the pitch is raised and a squeak is made before the bird produces other sounds. As the pressure increases, the distorted vocal cords vibrate with each respiration, producing a rhythmical squeak which continues day and night. No treatment, except surgical removal of the mass (a hazardous procedure) or in the case of some thyroid enlargements, administration of potassium iodide or thyroid extract, will have any effect. When bacterial infections are present, antibiotic treatment should be helpful.
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Hamilton & District Budgerigar Society Inc.