The inflammations of the eyelids and sinuses which are known as blepharitis and sinusitis, lead to watery discharges from the nostrils and eyes. The condition is known as coryza and is quite common in gallinaceous birds, parrots, birds of prey, canaries and other small passerines. It is generally complicated by bacteria flourishing in the inflamed, mucous membranes. The primary cause is sometimes a virus or bacteria-like organism such as Mycoplasma or Chlamydia. If neglected, the watery discharges may develop into thick, purulent exudates causing obstructions to the nasal passages and thus choking, wheezing and other difficulties in breathing. The airsacs slowly fill with exudates and pneumonia or even septicemia may result. Coryza is often a flock problem and frequently infectious. Infection occurs by inhalation of infected aerosols and less often by eating or drinking contaminated food or water. So long as one bird in a flock has this infection the other birds are at risk. Infections may result in debility or death from septicaemia or pneumonia. Even after recovery, the birds may still harbour the causal organisms. Treatment with antibiotics is helpful in controlling the bacterial secondary invaders and the Mycoplasma, but is useless against viruses. If ornithosis or psittacosis (Chlamydia infection) is present, it is usually advisable to destroy the bird.

The Nasal Cavity: Below each nostril, which is a small opening in the upper margin of the upper mandible, there is a short tube, which communicates with a slit-like opening located on the medial line of the hard palate. Above this opening in the roof of the mouth the cavity is divided by a bone and cartilage septum. On each side of the head, connecting with the nasal cavities at their lower extremities by means of a short, curved tube, there is a cavity known as the suborbital sinus, which receives the drainage from the eye through the lachrymal duct.

Since these cavities do not drain by gravity, they are very apt to become affected during attacks of cold, roup or any other infection involving the nasal passages. In such cases they become plugged with exudates for which there is no natural avenue of escape. The eyes water and the feathers around them become matted with tears; swellings appear above the beak; and sometimes the pressure of the exudates will be so great that it will force an artificial opening in the front of the head; at other times it is necessary to open the swelling and establish drainage in order to relieve the pressure on the eyes.

In some cases of sinus infection the entire nasal cavity may become plugged with a cheesy exudate which is largely composed of exfoliated mucous cells in various stages of degeneration. This exudate has to be removed by digging it out through the nostrils with a thin looped wire. The cavity is then irrigated with a solution of boric acid or sodium perborate. It may take a week or more of daily treatments to clear the passages out sufficiently for the bird to breathe through them. The inflammation is then treated with NASAL OIL. The eyes should be treated with mercuric ointment or equivalent if swelling. A vet should see the bird before you attempt any treatment or medicines.

E-Mail: berniehansen@sympatico.ca



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