Proventricular and Gizzard Worms (Acuaria and Spiroptera spp.)

Proventricular Worms:
These worms, depending upon the species, occur in the walls of the fore-stomach, beneath the horny lining of the gizzard, and to a lesser extent the small intestine and esophagus of many species of gallinaceous, psittacine and passerine birds in various parts of the world. They burrow deeply into the mucous lining where they cause inflammation or severe ulceration with chronic thickening of the lining layers, depending upon the degree of infestation. Severe infestations cause digestive disorders, loss of weight and even death. In all species the life cycle is indirect. The eggs after being eaten by an arthropod, produce larvae in the intermediate host before becoming infective to birds. Although not commonly reported parasites, more thorough post-mortem examinations of mysterious deaths in aviary birds may show these and similarly sited worms to be more common than is realized.

Treatment and control:
No satisfactory method of treatment was known at the time of this writing so check with your local vet if any treatment is available. CONTROL measures similar to those advised for gapeworms and threadworms should be used.

Gizzard and Intestinal Worms (Porrocaecum spp.):
One species, Porrocaecum ensicaudatum, of these small roundworms is particularly common in passerine birds, whilst another, P. crassurn, occurs in ducks. Unlike their relatives, Ascaridia and Capillaria, these worms always have an indirect life cycle requiring an intermediate host such as an earthworm. Not much is known about the capacity of the worms to cause disease, but it is likely that young birds are most susceptible and that light infestations, especially in adults, are relatively harmless. Ruffled feathers and inability to maintain balance have been attributed to the worms. It is virtually impossible, however, to diagnose the disease except at postmortem examination, when the worms may be found beneath the horny lining of the gizzard or attached to the epithelium of the small intestine where they may produce fibrous tumors on the external surface.

Treatment and control:
No treatment has been described. Control mainly depends upon avoidance of intermediate hosts, using similar methods to those recommended for gapeworms.


E-Mail: berniehansen@sympatico.ca



- TOP -

Hamilton & District Budgerigar Society Inc.