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Roundworms (Ascaris spp.) can settle in the intestine of budgies and many other
pet birds. People keeping birds in aviaries with natural flooring should be aware of
the risk that the birds can get infected with roundworms. The eggs of roundworms are
kept in the ground, where they are hardy for a long time in a moist climate. Heat,
dryness and direct exposure to sunlight destroy them fast. Veterinarians generally
talk about so-called ascarids in connection with roundworms.
A mild roundworm infestation causes problems to the bird's central nervous system. The worms discharge metabolites that are toxic to the budgie. Over time, the bird's body is unable to cope with these toxic substances and damage to the nervous system occurs as a result. Because of this damage, paralysis or an unnatural turning movement of the head can happen.
Your vet will give you a drug that you will have to give to the entire flock in order to get rid of the roundworms. After three to four weeks, the therapy needs to be repeated in order to completely kill the larvae living inside the body; i.e. the intermediate stage between egg and worm.
If the treatment is successful, the worms will die inside the bird's body whereby they cannot attach to the intestine and get discharged with the droppings. On the picture on the right side, the size of the discharged roundworms can be seen easily in comparison to the lip gloss which is seven centimetres long.
German version of this text: Gaby Schulemann-Maier,
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