Category Archives: Pet Care

Pet Canaries

Canaries are seed-eaters and are known as hardbills, with the typical short, pointed beak of the predominantly seed-eating bird. They have four claws, the first pointing backwards, and the second, third and fourth forwards. They weigh about 16 grams and normal body temperature is 43.3°C.

An older canary has more ragged feathers. A well-groomed young canary.

Canaries can be mated at one year of age and used for breeding for two tree years. Some have been known to breed for as long as twelve years. They can live for between six and twenty years. It is very difficult to age birds once they are over twelve months of age, except by their appearance: macula birds are well groomed, with feet and legs smooth, while the older become ragged. Leg rings give some guide to age.


When breeding time the lower portion of the abdomen and vent of the male becomes prominent and protrudes downwards. In the female the vent is is in line with the contours of the abdomen. At five weeks of cock may make feeble attempts to sing and his throat will begin to . Cocks generally sing but hens only cheep. Males have a stronger, thickly set, masculine head. When sexing birds it is easier to compare with other birds in the cage than to make decisions on single birds. Hybrids between canaries and finches (for example, the goldfinch-canary) ire known as mules. Mules are usually infertile, particularly the male.


Nests (round tins, or wooden, metal or earthenware containers) should be long in the upper half of the cage. Nesting materials that should be placed the cage include cow hair, meadow hay, grass, pieces of cotton-wool, felt moss. The incubating period is thirteen to fourteen days.

When hatching commences, give egg food or proprietary nestling food three times a day. Egg food is arrowroot biscuit and hard-boiled egg yolk. At hatching, the young are blind, and have little down. Eyes open at seven days and the nestling is completely feathered at three to four weeks of age. The young birds moult at six to eight weeks. Adult birds moult annually at the end of the breeding season. A canary under one year old that has not had an adult moult is said to be `unflighted’ and the wing feathers are paler than those of a full adult.


In the breeding season, feed plain canary seed 14 parts, rape seed 2 parts, whole oats 2 parts, linseed 1/2 part, white millet 1 1/2 parts. In addition, give them daily small quantities of fresh green feed such as thistle or lettuce. While the young are being reared, continue feeding the egg food described above (a crumbled mixture of milk arrowroot biscuits and hardboiled egg yolk); it may also be fed to breeding birds with poor mating. Grit and cuttlefish should be made available.

Bird Illness


Abscesses are common in budgerigars and are usually encapsulated and can be opened surgically. An alternative treatment is to lance the abscess and irrigate it with a 50 per cent peroxide solution in water, three times daily for three days. Any debris in the abscess should be evacuated by massaging the area.

Alopecia (Loss of Plumage)

Loss of feathers, including self-plucking, is frequently incurable and very annoying. The causes are varied and can include deficient or unbalanced diet, boredom, external parasites, exhaustion, nervousness and hormone imbalance. Some hormone imbalances are a consequence of the birds being kept in areas artificially lit, resulting in abnormal day : night ratios. The condition can affect all bird species but caged birds of the parrot family are most commonly affected. Baldness occurs on the head and neck, and usually there is no inflammation.

A white sulphur-crested cockatoo with early feather plucking.

Feather plucking at an advanced stage. It is important that the veterinarian searches for ectoparasites. In canaries, feather pecking of a cannibalistic nature may be caused by overcrowding, unhygienic conditions and sometimes parasitism. Sometimes parents may peck the nestlings. Mature canaries a month or so old may peck one another quite seriously. In these cases isolate the birds, treat the condition causing the problem (for example, worms) and remove all evidence of blood. Newly introduced and sick birds are often the subject of attack. Where a nutritional origin is suspected, diets should be varied and supplemented with green, fresh seeding grasses and insects. Vitamins can be administered in the drinking water or in the form of yeast.

Self-inflicted feather plucking is characteristic of the parrot family. This is usually the result of boredom or dietary deficiency, viruses, rarely parasites, occasionally the preen gland, but probably most often psychotic disturbances.

These conditions are rarely seen in free-ranging native birds. It should be remembered that most members of the parrot family are unfortunately kept in particularly small cages when compared to the size of the bird. Boredom can be relieved by allowing the parrot its freedom in the yard after wing clipping, or by use of a leg chain and wire runner—though there are risks that the latter device may break the bird’s leg. Alternatively place the parrot out among other native birds in the garden, use a bigger aviary, or place some green shrubbery in the cage for the bird to chew on. In obstinate cases where the cause is diagnosed definitely as boredom or neurosis, the bird may need to be released, but always make sure that it can be self-supporting. Nervous exhaustion, another cause of self-plucking, may be caused by dogs, active children, mice, rats or other sources.

External parasites should be eliminated as a cause. Various injections can be given by the veterinarian for some conditions. The red mite common in poultry yards may trouble such caged birds as budgerigars, canaries and parrots. These mites live in crevices of the cages and fittings, which should be treated with Malathion powder or solution or with other insecticides. Birds may need to be tranquillized during and after treatment to stop the self-mutilation.

Feather loss can also occur in beak rot.

Apoplexy (Coma)

This occurs fairly commonly amongst canaries and other seed-eating perch-sitting birds. Cerebral hemorrhage, possibly due to trauma or shock, is not unusual. If the bird does not die at once, paralysis and collapse may result. Apoplexy should be differentiated from the fainting fits suffered by some older canaries. The treatment for apoplexy is to place the bird in a quiet, dark box and leave it undisturbed.
Reduce the likelihood of head-on collisions by removing obstructions that tempt birds to fly into them, such as clear glass and mirrors.


This is one of the fungal diseases that are reasonably common in parrots. including (to a lesser extent) budgerigars. Affected birds show breathlessness, but very little else. Main lesions are in the air-sacs and the trachea. Treatment is 120-300 milligrams of potassium iodide dissolved in 60 milliliters of drinking water. A very successful therapy is to nebulise Amphoteracin B and use as an inhalant.

Beak Deformities

Overgrown beaks

Budgies are frequently presented with overgrown top beaks to be trimmed. The beak can be trimmed with a pair of scissors or filed back with an emery board. It should be trimmed or filed back so that the upper mandible (the top beak) overlaps the lower mandible by 3 millimeters. There are several common causes for overgrown beaks: Overgrown beak: the top beak should only overlap by 3 millimeters.

Mite infestation of the beak and surrounding tissues. Mite infestation of the beak The burrows of the mite (Cnemidocoptes sp.) are visible with the naked eye. There are many topical treatments for the mite, such as paraffin and Dettol. Ivermectin orally or on the skin gives the best result. Sometimes long treatments are necessary to eradicate the mites. Regular trimming of the beak is necessary so that the bird can eat.

Infection Various infections of the air passages and the cere at the base of the beak result in inflammation which stimulates beak growth. There is usually either staining of the tiny feathers above the nostrils or a history of sneezing and respiratory infection.

Trauma Crash landings or flying into windows, mirrors or other obstacles within the cage can cause beak damage.

Beak Rot/Beak Split Syndrome

Beak rot/beak split syndrome of parrots and cockatoos is usually accompanied by a plumage disorder. The splitting, leads to underlying infection and impaction of food particles and eventual exposure of the hone of the mandible.

Infection of the bone, osteomyelitis. debility and inability to eat are the end results. The disease in Australian cockatoos and other parrots is manifested by progressive deformity of the beak and/or progressive feather pathology.

The commonly affected birds are the sulphur-crested cockatoo, galah, Major Mitchell cockatoo, little corella, quarion (or cockateil), especially the red mutation, the African peach-face parrot, the Australian pale-headed eastern rosella, the Australian smutty rosella and the Indian ring neck, and the blue masked lovebird mutant. There are many similarities between this disease and that commonly called French moult in budgerigars. Usually the sufferer shows diagnostic signs of the disease by or at the time of its first moult. Both beak and feathers become affected as the disease progresses but either may be deformed in early cases. The disease is thought to be caused by a virus, and may take three forms: Mortality of unhatched chicks.

Gastroenteritis, causing vomiting, diarrhea, and death. Feather loss syndrome: Note stretch lines in primary feathers.

Combined beak and feather disease syndrome In this syndrome the disease is characterized by progressive changes in the beak. In the sulphur-crested cockatoo it shows as a dark, almost shiny beak, which becomes overgrown, develops a line across it, breaks off short, may regrow several times, but eventually becomes underrun with the typical rot at the core of the beak.

The first feathers to be affected are the down feathers located over the tops of the legs. which fail to puff out. Patches of infected feathers extend backwards and across over the rump; at the same time stretch lines are evident on some of the primary or flight feathers and/or tail feathers, as well as on some of the comb feathers. Feathers that shed or fall out are progressively replaced by malformed feathers which often remain encased (in part, or totally) in their sheath. They often have bloodstains in the centre of the quill and often a deformed pointed quill. Most sufferers lose their tail and primary flight feathers before they lose their body feathers. Very few birds recover from the disease, the great majority of birds progressing to a bald stage—with some dying because they are unable to eat due to the beak deformity. Seek veterinary advice—but the condition is usually fatal.


This is a common sign of sick birds and can be due to aspergillosis (a fungal infection), canary pox, asthma, infectious bronchitis, emphysema or a thyroid condition.


This is an inflammatory condition of the lungs, usually caused by a virus. The bird looks puffed up and listless, shivers and occasionally sneezes. An early symptom is a slight watery discharge from the nose. Droppings are often white and watery. Keep the bird in a constant temperature of 30°C. Administer oral antibiotics prescribed by the vet.


Bumblefoot is caused by a localized abscess of the ball (or soft pad) of the foot, which produces lameness. The main causes are dirty cages, rough perches, toe-nail trauma through overgrowth, and toe biting by other birds. Cut nails regularly and prevent other birds biting by installing

Canary Pox

Canary pox is a viral disease. In acute cases in canaries it causes gasping, followed by death. In sub-acute cases pox lesions (warts) develop on various parts of the unfeathered body, such as the comb, legs, feet and eyes. Inflammation Birds — of the eyelids, swelling of the margins of the eyes and closure of the eyes is common. Pussy sores develop at the corners of the mouth. Scratching and rubbing the eyes and beak on the perch or bars of the cage produce typical damage.

In the canker form. yellowish plaque-lesions appear in the mouth. There is no treatment, although local lesions may be treated with antibiotic/cortisone creams. Warts usually disappear in 6-8 weeks if the bird survives.

Candidiasis (Moniliasis or ‘I-Blush’)

Birds affected by candidiasis—a fungal disease—are sick, show unsatisfactory growth, rough feathering, listlessness and could eventually die. On post mortem examination, the crop has a thin layer of whitish mucous loosely attached. Treatment involves vitamin B complex drops and a fungicide called nystatin.

Central Nervous System Disorders

Signs of nervous disease include circling and rolling, incoordination, loss of balance, convulsions, fits and paralysis of the wings and legs. Paralysis is common in budgerigars and is caused by a wide range of conditions, some of them affecting the central nervous system. Other causes include in the female a ruptured oviduct and consequent damage when the bird strains to lay an egg. In some cases budgerigars may be affected with a ‘creeping paralysis’, so-called because one leg becomes paralyzed and then the other.
This appears to be a genetically inherited defect of the central nervous system. In some cases tumor formation, particularly on the kidney, may be responsible. Curled toe paralysis may respond to a single injection of 25 milligrams of riboflavin. Concussion can be a cause of nervous symptoms.

Concussion can be due to disturbances at night resulting in a sudden fright, or other factors causing birds to fly suddenly from their perches and collide with the walls of their cages. Concussion is not infrequent when a bird flies into a clear glass window which it did not see.

Cere Abnormalities

Changes in the color of the cere—apart from the normal sex reaction—occur in budgerigars, with progressive thickening and darkening of the cere. It may occur in both sexes and must be differentiated from infestation with cnemidocoptes. In cock birds, debility and cancerous growths of the testicles may produce the condition; in hens, cancer of the ovaries may produce a similar condition. Attention should be given to management and diet, but apart from this treatment is not satisfactory.

Brownish, cheesy material may appear on the cere; it may be removed but it usually returns, because the bird usually has a respiratory infection.

Claw Overgrowth

Overgrown claws are due to lack of sufficient wear of the claws. It is common in the parrot family, especially in caged budgerigars. The claws become overgrown, curled and twisted and may become caught in the bars of the cage, leading to fractures. Treatment is to trim the nail with cutters, but avoid injuring blood vessels. Provide natural perches of varying diameters.


This condition (also known as slipped toe, or stiff claw) appears most often in the parrot family although it is also seen in other birds. Young budgerigars are most commonly affected. There is a curling of the digits in a clenched poscut back to the normal shape. One or both feet may be affected. The disease may be due to a vitamin B complex deficiency, which can be rectified by providing yeast. The condition has also been reported in birds suffering from threadworm (capillariasis) infection of the intestine.


This is an internal parasite which attacks the lining of the intestine. Birds have the typical sick look about them, with fluffed-up feathers, and they often rest on the bottom of the cage. Bloodstained droppings and diarrhea may be closely followed by death in severe cases where conditions are damp, dirty and overcrowded. Treatment is ten drops of 16 per cent solution of sulphadimidine in 30 milliliters of drinking water. Amprolium in the drinking water is also very effective.


Constipation occurs in all birds from time to time, more particularly the parrot family, and follows faulty diet. The usual signs are straining, scanty and hard droppings, and general lethargy and sickness. Prevent by providing supplementary vitamin B-complex and fresh green feed. When necessary administer oil (liquid paraffin), at the rate of two drops three times daily for a large parrot. Be careful not to overadminister, or it may lead to feather clogging and feather picking.


Convulsions can be caused by viruses, bacteria and cancerous growths—their effects on the nervous system can result in depression, tail flicking, inability to fly, ataxia, paralysis, chorea, and convulsions. In addition, heart diseases, heart failure and poisoning cause convulsions.

The bird should be kept in a subdued light. Wide-spectrum antibiotics should be given, together with prednisolone (0.2 milligrams) twice daily for three days.


The eating of feces. A normal requirement among some birds.

Cramps (Curled-Toe Paralysis)

This condition responds to B-group vitamins. Add yeast to diet, or for quick results take the bird to a vet for an injection.

Crop Impaction (Crop Bluding)

Crop impaction is seen most frequently in the parrot family, and particularly among debilitated birds. It is common in young cock budgerigars. Distension of the crop is caused by dough-like, fermented contents.

Failure to de-husk seed is a common cause. Parent birds usually de-husk seed for their young and when the young start to feed themselves they may not always do it. The condition is seen as a swelling of the crop, with severe vomiting. In bad cases the crop will need to be opened surgically for removal of the debris. Pigeons producing crop milk, however, cannot be operated on because of the vascularity of the crop at this time.
Sometimes, while the bird is under general anesthetic, the crop may be massaged and the impaction relieved. Particular attention should be paid to a bird that has already suffered crop impaction, as it tends to recur if the bird’s general condition remains poor. All that can be done to prevent crop impaction is to keep birds in good health, feed them properly and make sure adequate grit is available.

Crop Necrosis

Crop necrosis is a digestive disease characterized by regurgitation of mucoid fluid, diarrhea and general malaise. The majority of cases die within a few days but sometimes death is quite sudden and unexpected. Treatment is with broad-spectrum antibiotics.

Cystic Conditions

Feather cysts are quite common in canaries and can be single or multiple. The cysts, which involve feather follicles, occur mainly on the wings, back, breast and tail, and develop mainly during the bird’s first or second moults. The cysts usually contain yellow, granular, cheese-like material. They should not be confused with cancerous conditions or skin abscesses. Their treatment is complete surgical excision under general anesthetic, rather than mere lancing

Deficiency Diseases in Birds

Because so little is known of the precise dietary requirements of many caged birds, it is likely that many disease conditions are due to deficiencies. For example, such conditions as French moult and other plumage disorders, gout, kidney disease, nervous conditions, poor hatchability, reduced fertility, failure to thrive and obesity are all influenced by diet.
Mixed vitamin supplements and increased fruit, green stuff and water intake have a beneficial effect in many conditions in canaries and budgerigars. In many illnesses the supply of live termites (white ants) can provide essential nutrients.


Normal droppings in the bird are black with a white centre. Diarrhea is usually evidenced by profuse, greenish droppings. The birds are very’ thirsty, there may be straining and eversion of the cloaca, and a craving for grit. Diarrhea can be caused by: faulty feeding; several organisms such as E. Coli, Salmonella, psittacosis and chlamydiosis; coccidiosis; access to poisonous garden plants such as violets, jonquils and gladioli. Sometimes stale wilted green stuff, or any other dirty food may induce intestinal inflammation and result in diarrhea. The bird quickly goes into shock, becomes depressed, loses its appetite, and stands about in a typical sick bird attitude with ruffled feathers. Samples of the droppings should be examined by a veterinarian and suitable medication prescribed as quickly as possible. Supportive therapy includes providing warmth, electrolytes in the water and intestinal antibiotics.

Suggested treatment is 1 gram Terramycin soluble powder per liter of drinking water for five days. Nectar-eating birds can be fed on 175 grams honey, 175 grams Complain and 175 grams of bread per liter of water. The bird should be force fed initially and treatment continued for five days. Isolate the bird and keep it warm and quiet.

A second treatment regime is a teaspoon of Spectramycin soluble powder (55 grams oxytetracycline per kilogram) per 250 milliliters of water, plus 2-3 drops Lomotil syrup twice daily. Initially injections are needed. With any of these treatments it is important to supply grit.

Egg Binding

Egg binding is common in caged birds, particularly in canaries and pigeons. It leads to excessive straining and a prolapse may occur. In canaries it occurs at the start of the breeding season and if not corrected may be quickly fatal.

It often occurs in cold weather and in unhealthy or immature birds, who will be found fluffed up in the corner of the cage. Treatment is to place the bird in a warm cage at 26-32°C (80-90°F). This alone may relieve the spasm of the oviduct. Lubricate the egg and vent area with some warm paraffin oil. If this fails, pierce the egg with a needle, remove the contents and then the shell. An owner with confidence can perform this procedure.

Eye Disorders

Irritation, inflammation and slight closing of the eye can be caused by the pox virus. Cataracts, which are often seen, may be due to inbreeding. Conjunctivitis caused by chlamydiosis is commonly seen in parakeets—symptoms are excessive drinking and partial closing of the eyes with mucous discharges. It is successfully treated with antibiotic eyedrops.
A fracture in a bird is a serious problem, and not one for home remedies. Fractures of the major bones in large birds can be satisfactorily repaired by inserting a pin surgically. Smaller bones, and the legs of smaller birds, can be splinted while the bird is under a general anesthetic with quite satisfactory results, using splints made of 12 millimeter strips of adhesive tape and fine plastic tubing. It is important that the bird be encouraged to perch, with the limb extending behind and resting on top of the perch. Fractures of the toes are not uncommon but they invariably heal well when splinted by adhesive tape to the adjacent toe.

Fractured wings are very common. The typical sign is a drooped wing. To facilitate healing, the wing should be lifted back to its normal position. In large birds pinning can be done surgically and is one of the better remedies. In birds weighing less than 50 grams surgery is generally unwarranted, and the fracture can often be treated by manipulation of the conscious or sedated sufferer and the wing strapped in its normal position against the body which serves as a splint. Adhesive tape 12 millimeters wide is used to encircle both wings just behind the wing butt and connected to another strip holding the primary flight feathers together and to the tail base by a strip along the back of the bird. Free leg movement is essential.

It takes time for the bird to learn to balance without the use of its wings. Splinting remains for twenty-one days. All primary and secondary flight feathers on the affected wing are cut off to remove any drag on the wingtip. In some cases wings may have to be amputated, but birds in captivity cope very well.


Gangrene is sometimes reported among canaries. The feet become cold, black in color, and slough off. The cause is unknown—but it may be due to bacteria ergot. The should be treated with local applications of tincture of chloramphenicol daily. Cleanse and disinfect the cage and destroy and replace the perches. The condition can be confused with canary pox or simple inflammatory conditions.


Gout is usually a sequel to a kidney complaint. A bird with gout may be restless and may lift and lower the feet alternately. Joint lesions take the form of nodules on the feet and legs (budgerigars), and sometimes on the wing joints. The only treatment that can be suggested is manipulation of the joint while the bird is under general anesthesia, the provision of narrow diameter perches and control of any kidney disease.

Gout is a complex problem. Nutritional deficiencies of riboflavin, vitamin E and manganese may all play a part.

A detailed examination of all factors such as husbandry, nutrition and evidence of disease needs to be made before specific treatment can be carried out. A change in diet to a mixed vitamin supplement, reduced seed intake, and an increased fruit, green and water intake are general recommendations in budgerigars and canaries where gout is occurring. The condition is usually progressive.

Heart Disease

Heart disease is common in parrots. The signs are fainting fits, leading to collapse, followed (in older birds) by recovery. Older birds tend to recover because they have better compensatory ability than younger birds. The fainting fits increase in frequency and eventually result in heart failure, usually due to pericarditis.

In canaries aged seven years and older fainting fits and heart failure are common. The cause is usually a fibrinous pericarditis or gout. Signs are sudden fluttering about the cage followed by partial collapse with the wings held away from the body and weakness of the legs. Death may ensue, or the bird may recover after a few hours. Keep the bird quiet and warm, lower the perches and remove obstacles on which the bird may injure itself. Treatment is glucose at the rate of 30 grams per liter of drinking water and Nikethamide by injection 0.25 milliliters. A minute amount of strychnine may be given in drinking water. No alcohol should be given.


Heatstroke can occur in any caged bird. If the cage is placed in direct sunlight without shelter, the bird becomes distressed. suffers prostration and eventually death from heart failure and shock. The bird suffering from heatstroke should be removed to a cool, shaded area or placed in a refrigerator for a minute to get rapid, dry cooling. Take care not to overdo this—some may recommend three minutes but one minute is safer. Afterwards place the bird in a cool, dark room. Taking the bird to the vet will only cause increased stress, so it is advisable to leave the bird quiet.


Hernia is sometimes seen in caged birds but most often in budgerigars. It is a fluctuating swelling beneath the skin of the abdomen. The only method of repair is by anesthesia and surgery. It may be confused with a tumor. The condition is most likely due to injury.
Injuries in Birds

Following injury to a captive bird or on capturing an injured bird, handle it as little as possible. Place the bird in a soft cardboard box and keep it dark (excepting larger parrots, which do not go into shock so easily). While maintaining a warm environment for the bird,
Race it as rapidly as possible to the vet’s surgery. External injuries of tail feathers Broken or damaged primary and secondary tail and flight feathers are removed by traction.

Re-growth time varies from eight weeks to four months depending on the species. Self-mutilation of feather wounds can be limited by fitting-an Elizabethan collar or by releasing the bird into a very large aviary. Sometimes reduction of light intensity and improved husbandry eliminates the problem. An injured feather is best to be removed and the area cauterized with ferric chloride solution to stem the bleeding.

Puncture wounds and lacerations to the skin from the environment or other birds are common. Large wounds can be sutured and/or an Elizabethan collar used to prevent pecking at the wound.

Bumblefoot is a major problem of the foot. Excess toe-nail growth and consequent snagging or toe biting by other birds are frequent. Often a nail strip occurs, but regrowth of the nail over the undamaged stump is rapid. If osteomyelitis (inflammation of the bone) sets in, antibiotics are required.

Soft Ttissue Injuries

Leg rings Most budgerigars and canaries bred for exhibition are fitted with closed aluminum rings on their legs, but the incidence of problems associated with these is low. If the ring is too tight the leg may be fractured and/or the blood supply to the foot restricted. The ring often becomes restrictive if there is swelling of the leg because of canary pox or. cnemidocoptes mite infestation. Removal of the ring should be undertaken with extreme care and only while the bird is anesthetized, as it is very easy to fracture a leg. As the ring is usually made of soft aluminum, it may be cut off with a pair of fine scissors, ideally by inserting one blade under the ring and cutting. If access by this technique is impossible, then a fine pair of tin snips is applied above and below the ring which is cut in two positions. The traumatized tissues of the leg are treated with local preparations and the bird is placed on antibiotics.


Emphysema is an accumulation of air under the skin. It can be caused by a penetrating wound that punctures the skin and creates a ‘bellows’ effect in the A leg ring which has restricted circulation has caused serious injury to this bird surrounding muscle tissue; air is ‘pumped’ in through the wound. Another cause is the rupture of an air sac which results in a massive accumulation of air in the head and neck region. Veterinarian treatment is required.

Crop Fistula

Commonly encountered in large parrots and resulting from internal trauma or ulceration. In racing pigeons, injuries result from external trauma from trees, power lines and birds of prey. The opening usually comes from the crop to the outside skin. Treatment is surgical.
Internal Trauma

Internal trauma results from eating a foreign body or from the migration of a sharp object (such as a needle or a piece of wire) through any part of the upper intestinal tract. Sometimes X-rays will reveal the foreign body. Part of it may be visible externally. Surgery can be done under anesthetic to remove the problem.

Gunshot Wounds

Gunshot wounds are common in racing pigeons particularly and produce a variety of lesions. Removal of pellets is difficult and often unnecessary unless they are affecting the bird’s bones.


Collapse of the walls of the oviduct, and subsequent emergence of the tissue through the vent, may occur after egg-laying in immature or geriatric females. If the prolapse is attended to quickly, lubrication or gentle restoration using a blunt instrument is all that will be needed. Prolapse of a longer duration is more difficult to reduce, but patience and gentle pressure with thorough lubrication will restore the organ to its normal position. A purse-string suture around the vent for the next seven to ten days will prevent a recurrence. Laying birds should be checked daily. Antibiotic therapy is necessary.

Leg Disorders

Swollen knees in lorikeets and budgerigars may be due to infectious arthritis or gout. Infectious arthritis can be treated with a mixture of 1: 1 sulphadimidine and chloramphenicol palmitate suspension. Give two drops by mouth every four hours for seven to fourteen days. Nodules on the legs and feet may be the result of gout. If the swelling is due to canary pox, the disease can be identified by the typical pox lesions (warts) on the skin of the body and on the feet and legs, and the usual cycle of the warts (they will disappear in about six weeks).

Light Birds

Going ‘light’ is a symptom, not a disease and is common to many diseases. The bird sits listlessly with its feathers fluffed. and it loses weight as it picks disinterestedly at its food. It flies sluggishly and with increasing difficulty as breast and pectoral muscles waste away almost to nothing. Birds affected by this condition should be taken to a veterinary surgeon.

Loss of Voice

Invariably there is some underlying problem with the bird. Observe it carefully to detect clinical signs of illness.


Moulting varies in timing, but usually occurs towards the end of summer. Canaries moult more fully than budgerigars. Parrots moult more slowly than canaries and start earlier.
Canaries may lose their song, and there is reduced activity during the moult. Vitamins, fresh greens, fruit and canary seed—so-called moulting foods—should be supplied during the moult. When moulting is incomplete and the remaining feathers are dull, the bird may be treated by ultraviolet irradiation. The lamp should be positioned 1 metre from the cage for half a minute on the first day, one minute on the second day, and thereafter lengthening the time each day by half a minute until by the thirtieth day the bird is receiving a dose for fifteen minutes. Moulting will be erratic when the bird’s diet is unsatisfactory. Some birds benefit from small pieces of raw meat, some benefit from soft corn meal mush seasoned with salt and pepper. Other diets that promote healthy moulting include slices of wholemeal bread soaked in warm milk and honey, sweet apple, fresh corn on the cob and a boiled egg occasionally French moult ‘runner’.

French Moult

French moult is a condition of young budgerigars and some other parakeets. It is a condition of faulty plumage occurring in the nest or during the fledging stage, and is thought to be a deficiency disease induced by continuous breeding. It is associated with a deficiency of protein secreted by the female. Nestlings have excessive feather growth but are subnormal in size. Continuous moulting affecting the wing or tail feathers can give rise to the so-called ‘runners’ or ‘crawlers’. The condition should be differentiated from parasitic disease or self-plucking. To prevent the birth of young that will continue the disorder, breeding adults should be rested from breeding for months. Control apart from this is dietary. Some success has resulted from using high levels of vitamin E (80 i.u. per kilogram of foodstuff). Molasses, seaweed and B-group vitamins mixed in the drinking water are also helpful. The best response is to antibiotic therapy during incubation and rearing.

Soft Moult

Soft moult is the continual moulting of a few feathers. This condition occurs in budgerigars and canaries where they are kept in cages under artificial light, such as the living room of an ordinary household. It is commonest in canaries under such conditions. The affected birds have a disheveled appearance as they continually shed their feathers and produce new growth. The birds become debilitated and may die. Treatment includes varying the diet, providing constant temperature, and exposure to normal hours of daylight. It can take up to six months for the condition to be cured.

Muscle wasting

Muscle wasting is a sign of serious illness in the bird, and particularly of cancerous growths


Cage birds as they age become susceptible to a wide range of benign and malignant tumors. The incidence of cancers is very high in budgerigars. Treatment is seldom possible, apart from surgical removal of subcutaneous neoplasms.

Neoplasms may also occur in the kidneys or in the pituitary gland, and cause a quarter of all deaths. Cancerous growths lead to a variety of symptoms but externally all produce wasting and death.

Nephritis (Kidney Disease)

Birds are commonly affected with nephritis due to the production of uric acid crystals which get caught in the tubules of the kidney. Sometimes there is associated gout. Symptoms are depression, thirst and watery diarrhea which may be whitish with urates.
Swelling of the limbs can occur in canaries. The condition is commonly caused by a virus. Treatment is to use antibiotics such as Amoxil or Clavulox and check on the dietary protein. The surrounding temperature should be maintained at 24-26°C. If the canary becomes emaciated, increase the ratio of canary seed to millet seed from 1 : 2 to 3 : 1. If its weight does not increase, consult your veterinary surgeon for antibiotic :herapy.


Obesity is a serious problem, as it affects the liver, heart, lungs and kidneys, resulting in respiratory disturbance, lethargy, sometimes abdominal rupture, reproductive disorders and collapse if the bird is excited. Flight may be impossible and walking may be an effort. It occurs in birds between fifteen months and six years of age. Control is by strict dieting on a high-protein seed ration, giving only one level teaspoonful two or three times a day for about ten days.

Oil Removal from Marine Birds

An oiled bird should be sprinkled with dry cornflour, which should be dusted off once it has absorbed oil. Repeat the dusting with fresh cornflour until the bird’s plumage is normal. Allow the marine bird a test swim in a small tub before releasing to the wild. Birds should not be degreased with a detergent-type product as this also removes natural plumage oils which keep the bird buoyant while swimming.

Ornithosis (Psittacosis or Parrot’s Disease or Parrot Fever)

This condition affects birds of the parrot family, budgerigars, canaries and other species of wild birds and pigeons. It is a danger to human beings, as it may produce respiratory symptoms that vary from mild to severe, sometimes total bronchopneumonia. The disease is readily transferred from birds to humans by inhalation, and kissing pet birds is for this reason extremely dangerous.

Symptoms in birds vary a lot and are not specific. Labored breathing is the commonest symptom. Birds go off their food, show sleepiness, roughing of the feathers, greenish diarrhea, breathlessness, discharge from the nose and eyes, loss of weight, drooping of the wings, general apathy and attacks of shivering. Treatment includes antibiotic therapy, but serious thought should be given to destroying the bird because of the danger to human health.


Budgerigars, parrots and cockatoos may suffer from osteomalacia, a gradual softening of the bones. The condition is dietetic in origin, being caused by a deficiency or imbalance of calcium and phosphorus and a deficiency of vitamin D. The bones become weak and may fracture. The easiest treatment is to feed with a commercial brand of bird seed. Seek professional advice regarding adequate and balanced calcium and phosphorus in the diet.
This condition is becoming more apparent among native birds fed by the public on bread and honey. If this diet accounts for a large proportion of a bird’s total diet it will eventually suffer from osteomalacia. Bread is very poor in calcium and very high in phosphorus

Parasites (External)

Birds are commonly affected by lice and mites which attack their legs and feathers. Several insecticides are available for painting the undersides of the perches. These insecticides are very poisonous and should be used strictly according to the instructions on the label. Painted on the undersides of the perches, the fumes rise and penetrate the birds’ feathers, killing any lice.

Other effective methods of controlling vermin are to spray or paint perches and cages with kerosene or an insecticide such as Malathion. Birds should be removed from the cages or aviaries during this procedure and not returned to the cages for two or three days. The cages should be rinsed with water after the insecticide has had time to work.

Horse Breeding

The mare will show estrus (be on heat, come into season) several times during the breeding season (spring into summer). When the mare is season she will elevate her tail and stand with the back legs slightly apart. The clitoris will move in and out (winking), and she will urinate frequently. At the beginning of the breeding period estrus may last for a considerable length of time, up to two weeks. As the season advances estrus becomes shorter so that at the height of the season it lasts only three to five days. Ovulation occurs about forty-eight hours before the mare goes off estrus. Therefore mating in summer during the short estrus periods is more likely to succeed.
Breeding in the mare can take the form of ‘paddock mating’ where the stallion is allowed to run free with the mares and mate naturally, or it can take the form of ‘hand-mating’. Many studs employ a veterinarian to follicle-test in-season mares to determine when ovulation is about to occur. This ensures that the mare is bred at the optimum time and prevents overuse of the stallions. It also eliminates some risk of injury, as many mares wiLl lash out at a stallion, despite showing interest to the teaser, if the follicle is not quite ripe.
When it is determined to mate the mare, a tail bandage is applied which extends down the tail about 30 centimeters. The mare’s genitals are then washed down thoroughly with an antiseptic solution. When the stallion has an erect penis, it too should be washed in antiseptic solution. Both horses should be re-washed after mating. The stallion should be led up to the side of the mare to test her reaction. If she is receptive lead the stallion to the rear of the mare and allow him to mount. Sometimes the penis may need to be directed into the vulva of the mare.
If the mare is difficult to mate, check that she is on season and if so, restraints such as hobbles or a twitch may be applied. The hand-mating of mares is a skilled job for the horseman and should only be attempted after considerable experience is gained working on a stud under a stud groom.

Maiden Mare

There is usually a difference in the general condition of maiden mares entering the stud. Frequently they are turned out of racing just prior to or during the breeding season. Because it takes time to relax and become accustomed to the stud procedures, these mares are often very nervous. Also mares turned out to pasture after being hand fed most of their lives will take at least eight weeks to adapt to a whole grass diet, in which time weight loss can be expected. It is particularly desirable to obtain maiden mares as early as possible to get them settled in before the season begins.
Breeders generally believe that examination of a maiden mare for breeding soundness is unnecessary, and this may be true in most cases. However. there are a few specific conditions encountered in maiden mares which, if not found and corrected before breeding, may result in injury. These include an infantile genital tract, imperforate hymen, vaginal septum and sutured vulva as a result of a Caslick’s operation.
Special attention should be given to the teasing and breeding of maiden mares. Teasing is the act of using a stallion (or gelding treated with hormones) of negligible value to test the mares each day to see if they are in season. A mare that is not in season can be vicious. Often a very small stallion is used because he can mount without fear of penetration, to fully test the mare’s response. Once it is determined that the mare is receptive, the valuable stud stallion is introduced. There is often a degree of roughness in the teasing procedure, and this is especially undesirable whe handling young, inexperienced mares. Early mistreatment can result in the development of surly or vicious behavior in the presence of the teaser which makes it difficult to determine the right time for breeding. Maiden mares should not be teased too vigorously. Observe them after the teaser has gone, and when they are with the mares in their group. Each mare tends to develop a relatively consistent estrus cycle and characteristic behavior at the different stages. An experienced, competent observer is able to predict the proper breeding time.
Maiden mares can be very unpredictable in the early spring. At this time on, is ready to be served. they can go into a ‘spring estrus’ and exhibit signs of heat practically every day for extended periods especially if the weather is mild. Some will accept the stallion, others will not. An occasional mare might be showing true estrus, but the majority will not. Breeding at this stage is a waste of time and semen (particularly where a stallion has a heavy booking of mares). Patience is the best approach with these mares as they eventually settle into a normal cycle.
The ‘jumping’ procedure is recommended for young, nervous or timid maiden mares. ‘Jumping’ is simply a precaution to protect the stallion and, indirectly, to avoid any excitement that might cause the mare to injure herself. She is restrained as for breeding (twitch, leg strap or hobbles) and then a quiet, gentle teaser is allowed to mount the mare. Actual intercourse is prevented by directing the penis to one side. This procedure can be repeated several times to accustom the maiden mare to stud procedure. At the same time it gives the attendants an idea of how she reacts.

Brood Mare Management at Foaling

Ideally, the mare should arrive at the stud at least six to eight weeks before the foaling date. This allows her time to recover from traveling stress and allows her system time to develop antibodies against local germs. On the mare’s arrival, the stud groom should be furnished with her medical record containing the following: Anticipated foaling date and date of last service. Type and date of any recent hormonal therapy. Caslick’s operation. Vaccination status. Date of last thorough worming. Behavioral idiosyncrasies (for example, resists a stallion, can’t be tied up, cycles irregularly, or doesn’t exhibit estrus). After successful mating the mares will usually be grouped into early, midseason and late foaling groups, and dry mares (those not in foal). About seven to ten days before foaling, the mare should be moved to a home paddock—a grassed individual paddock close to the house which can be illuminated to dusk level. Valuable mares should be observed every hour.

Barren and Empty Mares

`Barren’ usually means chronically unable to go in foal and ’empty’ mares that have had foals but have not been rebred. Occasionally, a may produce ten or twelve foals in as many consecutive years, but on average this cannot be expected. A certain percentage of mares fail to conceive each year because of natural causes, accidents, infections and human error. The breeder who breeds only one or two mares each year should make a particular effort to get the mare in good breeding condition well ahead the season. The mare should have a pre-breeding check-up to assess t – physical condition. Age will be a factor, as mares over the age of fifteen to go in foal less regularly. Teeth should be attended to, and if they beyond repair a special ration is advisable. In addition, a vitamin-mineral supplement is often beneficial to older mares.
Many older mares may be chronically lame or sore. Mares retired racing often have arthritic conditions which plague them in later life. In these cases consideration may be given to special shoeing. Sometimes a blood sample from a mare in poor physical condition will reveal an anaemia or even an infection. If a mare is barren, the possibility of a parasitic infection should never be overlooked, particularly in stables where horses are often yarded for periods. Proper worming program should be in force on all horse-raising establishments. On the other hand some mares stay fat on little or no grain, appear gaunt and do not have a glossy or thrifty appearance. Often these mares have a history of erratic heat periods and fail to conceive despite repeated breedings. Some of these mares respond well to thyroid extract, while others fare better on a restricted diet together with exercise.
A veterinarian should be consulted to examine mares that do not gc foal. The vet will look for evidence of discharge from the vagina, or on the buttocks and tail. Special attention should be paid to the confirmation in the region of the anus and vulva. The anus and vulva should have a nearly vertical line. If the line falls forward to any great extent from to anus, there may be trouble from so-called ‘wind-sucking’. This refers the movement of air into the vagina, sometimes carrying with it fecal material which has dropped on to the edges of the vulva. Further examination of the mare is made internally by the vet to examine the ovaries and womb infections can be introduced by contaminated hands or instruments at a previous foaling, during breeding or as a result of ‘wind-sucking’. Mares that become wind-suckers should have a `Caslick’s operation’, in which the lips of the vulva are stitched together except for a small opening at the lower end for urination. At breeding time the stitches are removed to allow service, and then replaced to prevent entry of infection during pregnancy. The stitches must be removed again a week or two before foaling.
Most breeders commence teasing their empty mares in early spring. Though all mares cannot be expected to have a regular estrus cycle at this time of the year, most will cycle within a short time. When an empty mare sheds her winter coat, it is a good sign that she is ready to begin breeding. However, while it is important to get mares in foal as early as possible (so that the foals are bigger at yearling sales), most mares cycle best and are most fertile in mid-summer. A complete and accurate teasing chart is valuable for recording changes in heat periods, as mares tend to follow fairly consistent patterns from year to year. 

Dog Sexual Behavior

The sexuality of their pet can be a problem for all dog owners, but is probably heightened when two dogs are kept together, especially if they are of the opposite sex. The majority of male dogs reach puberty between six and 12 months old, but are rarely used for breeding before the age of a year. The female dog has a much more restricted breeding phase than her male partner, who can mate at virtually any stage during the year. It is usual for bitches to mature slightly earlier than dogs, although this depends to some extent on the breed.

Your bitch will have one, or more usually two, periods of sexual activity, frequently described as ‘heats’ or ‘seasons’, each year. These are accompanied by significant behavioral changes. During the first stage of heat, described as pro-estrus, she will become more playful than normal, yet rebuff the attentions of male dogs which venture too close, even to the point of being aggressive.

At this stage, there will be a bloody discharge apparent from her vulva. As this ceases, so the time for mating approaches, and it is particularly vital to keep the bitch away from intact males at this time. Chemical messengers, called pheromones, will attract males to the area, knowing that ,he is ready to mate. You should keep her indoors, and only exercise her under supervision in your garden at this stage. Apart from the risk of male dogs gaining access, there is also a real possibility that the bitch herself may go to great lengths to escape, in order to find a mate.

You cannot rely on training at this stage to prevent an unwanted pregnancy. Nor will the bitch be able to control the discharge from her vulva, which is likely to be deposited around the home, on carpeting or furniture if she is allowed to sleep here. Heat can therefore be a troublesome period, which lasts about three weeks on average.

If you keep male dogs, and there is a bitch on heat in the vicinity, you may well find that the dogs disappear, in spite of their usually good behavior. Again, there is virtually nothing you can do by way of training to prevent such instinctive responses, but you should aim to discourage the dogs from wandering off by supervising them closely.

Dogs should only be allowed to mate if they are healthy and the resulting puppies can be assured of good homes. Sadly, this is not always the case, and many dogs continue to be destroyed each year as a result. While it is possible to use drugs to prevent a bitch from conceiving at a particular season, the operation popularly known as ‘spaying’ will ensure that she will not have puppies in the future. Spaying, more technically described as an ovariohysterectomy, entails the removal of both the ovaries and the uterus through the wall of the abdomen. It is normally carried out when the bitch is not in season.

Having decided to spay your bitch, do not allow her to run around excessively for the first few days after surgery, and exercise her on a leash at this stage. The wound should heal rapidly and the stitches can be removed 10 days later. You may had that the bitch then tends to put on weight quite readily, so you will need to reduce her food intake gradually, and ensure that she has adequate exercise.

While a female dog’s sexual activity is confined to just a few weeks of the year, behavioral problems can arise with males, especially puppies, around puberty, and become persistent. If kept with other dogs, they may try to mount them, or else a dog may climb on to your legs, usually when you are sitting down in an armchair. Such behavior may also be encountered in bitches, but is generally far less common.

In either case the remedy should be the same, with the dog being made to lie down when it is about to mount your leg. This will distract it as well before the behaviour becomes habitual. If you find the dog climbing on to the chair arm, the response should be the same. You should otherwise avoid any contact with the dog, so as not to allow this to develop into an attention-seeking ritual. Confine the dog for a few minutes on its own whenever it tries to behave in this way and the phase should soon pass. Otherwise, you may find yourself faced with a major problem. As an example, owners of a Dachshund began by having to confine their dog on 84 occasions for this reason on one day alone, although within three weeks the problem had been resolved.
problems which may have a hormonal basis. Aside from reducing the desire to mate, both normally and abnormally, it should also help to prevent the dog from straying. The dog’s level of aggression may similarly be reduced, and there should be fewer accompanying signs, such as urine spraying around the home. Yet otherwise, it is unlikely to alter the personality of the dog, or its level of excitability. You must watch a castrated male’s weight, however, because obesity can then occur quite rapidly.

With a male dog in the longer term, you may want to consider castration if you have no intention of breeding with it. Like spaying, this is not a reversible operation since it entails removal of the testes themselves. Castration can help a number of separate behavioral.

But whether or not you decide to opt for a pure-bred (pedigree) or a cross-bred. there is no substitute for properly training your dog from the start, so that it will become a pleasant and reliable member of the community.

Even before your biter pregnant. remember that it is not be easy to find homes the puppies. There are already many unwanted dogs turned out on to the streets, and you should avoid any risk of adding to the numbers. Try to find good homes, therefore, even before you mate your bitch.

Selecting a Cat

A cat is a fastidiously clean animal quite content to be independent. The desexed cat is usually content with the territorial limitations of an backyard and very satisfied to spend the major part of the day basking in the sun. It will rarely come when called—unless there is food. It. is much happier on someone’s lap in front of a winter’s fire than accompanying a jogger on a rainy night.
Cats are ideal for people living in flats or units—in fact, anywhere a pet desired but the territory is limited (although, as cats are not allowed in apartment buildings, do check first). Cats are less costly to keep than dogs.
When selecting a cat, there are a great variety from which to choose. The sex of the cat doesn’t matter so long as you have it desexed. Next you should think about long hair versus short hair. The color combinations are now numerous that all cat owners’ tastes can be satisfied.
The age of the cat is a consideration but it doesn’t really matter whether you select a mature cat or a young kitten, providing you give it sufficient to establish a relationship with you. Young kittens will demand more your time because they need to be fed four times a day and toilet trained. Ll generally, however, the pleasure derived from observing the antics of a kitten far outweigh any disadvantages.

Cat Breed

If you haven’t had a cat in the family before, each member of the family should check they are not allergic to the animal. Handle the cat; even bring its fur in contact with your face. An allergic reaction causes watering and irritation of the eyes, accompanied by snuffling and sneezing. If a member of the family is allergic, it is much easier to be sensible about the situation fore the cat has become part of the family.
The most trouble-free breed of cat is the common short-haired tabby type. They need a minimum of grooming, and in warm climates are the obvious choice. On long-haired cats ectoparasites such as fleas and ticks are more difficult to eliminate. Long-haired cats require frequent grooming to prevent the development of matted areas along the belly and flanks. Badly matted hair can lead to dermatitis serious enough to require treatment under a general anesthetic. The ordinary tabby or alley cat makes an excellent house cat and pet and it has no peer as a rodent exterminator. The tabby comes in all sizes, shapes and colors. Because it is crossbred, it is less susceptible to diseases, particularly to the upper respiratory tract viral infections which are so common in other breeds. The tabby has virtually no hereditary or congenital abnormalities.
Pedigree cats can be divided into long-haired and short-haired varieties. Some of the long-haired varieties, particularly the creams and chinchillas, have been bred to accentuate the ‘pushed-in’ face. Unfortunately, this has led to problems: many of these cats have tears constantly washing down their face, marking their hair, and causing chronic conjunctivitis. Siamese and Burmese cats are particularly sensitive to cat flu viruses. Blue-eyed white cats are usually congenitally deaf. Tortoise-shell or calico cats are usually female; the few males are usually sterile. White-eared cats are subject to sunburn and skin cancer of the ear tips.

Selecting a Cat from a Litter

Wherever you get your cat, keep the following points in mind. Note the appearance and sanitary condition of the establishment from which you are purchasing the animal. Is it clean and free of odors? Are the cages clean and in good condition? What is the general appearance of the animals in the cattery?
One advantage of dealing directly with a breeder is that a history of the mother and her management during the pregnancy can sometimes be very helpful in choosing the right cat. If the mother has had two or three litters in the space of twelve months, it is possible that her bones are starting to become deficient in the essential vitamins and minerals necessary for proper bone formation in the kittens. If she has been fed a meat diet only, without calcium supplementation, this will increase the possibility of weak bones in the kittens. Worming should have taken place before the mother became pregnant and she should have been wormed two or three times during the pregnancy. The mother should have been vaccinated against infectious female enteritis and cat flu within the previous twelve months and preferably midway through the pregnancy also. Kittens infected with fleas are a good Indication of lack of care on the breeder’s part. If the breeder has taken the :trouble to care properly for the mother, then you can be sure that the litter is the best opportunity for survival.
Don’t base your selection of a kitten entirely on a cute expression or an appealing look. Never be tempted to feel sorry for the runt of the litter or a sickly kitten. Observe the whole litter at a distance. Select a kitten that is alert and playful. It should have a glossy coat and be well and robust in condition. Avoid the very shy kitten, particularly if you have small children in your family, as such a pet will require careful handling and will not submit to being handled by young children.
Once a kitten has been selected at a distance, pick it up and compare its eight to the others in the litter. Hold the kitten in the palm of your hand and feel its activity and weight. Look for dry scurfy skin, lice and fleas. Check under the tail to see if the kitten has had any diarrhea.
Examine its mouth and check that the gums are a good pink color. Check the roof of the kitten’s mouth for a cleft palate (this is a slit in the roof of the mouth). Check the eyes for discharge. If the third eyelid (a mucous membrane at the corner of the eye) is protruding more than one-sixth towards the centre, it indicates that the kitten is in ill health. Blindness can be checked by darting the fingers towards the eye; the kitten should blink.
Check the ears for any smell or discharge. Kittens with infected ears will shake their heads and paw at the outsides of the ears. Ear infections can be cured but do consider the veterinary expenses. Deafness can be determined by snapping your fingers or clapping your hands behind the cat. If it fails 😮 respond the chances are that it is deaf. Examine the belly of the cat for hernias. The kitten should have five toes on each front foot, and four on each hind-foot.
The kitten’s sex should be determined (see above). Pedigree cats should come with papers documenting their pedigree. In the case of a cat already registered, a transfer form signed by the breeder should be available. Wean off the kitten should have started at four weeks of age. At six weeks the kitten is ready to leave its mother, but some breeders prefer to wait till the eat is nine weeks old.

Orphaned Kittens

Feed the kittens that are orphaned a milk as close to cat’s milk as possible. The difference between cow’s milk and cat’s milk is that the latter contains about twice as much protein, which is essential for the normal high rate of growth the kitten. A suitable substitute for cat’s milk is one cup of evaporated milk plus a quarter cup of water, or cow’s milk to which has been added egg yolk at the rate of 1 part beaten egg yolk to 4 parts milk. There are also commercial substitutes.
Orphaned kittens will require feeding every two to three hours for the first Lek; the intervals between feeds can be gradually increased to four hours.
It can be given by stomach tube—a length of soft polyethylene tubing about 2 millimeters in diameter attached to a disposable syringe. Measure the f:stance between the kitten’s nose and the rear of its rib cage when its head – neck are stretched out, and cut the tubing slightly longer (this is .efficient to reach the kitten’s stomach). Pass the tube through its mouth and it may push until the indicated length has been reached. Initially about 3 milliliters (about half a teaspoon) of milk should be given at each feed. Increase the amount to 4 milliliters (nearly 1 teaspoon) by the end of the first week and to 10 milliliters (2 teaspoons) by the third week. You can also – a pet nurser bottle for the kitten to suckle. All equipment must be kept scrupulously clean; sterilize it as you would for a baby.
Keep orphaned kittens in a large cardboard box lined with torn news- :aper, at a temperature of about 30°C; this can be effected by the use of Infra-red lamps or electric light bulbs. By four weeks the kittens should be tapping and eating. A mother cat usually stimulates defecation and urination by licking her kitten’s anal area. This can be simulated in orphaned kittens -Dv gently rubbing with a paper tissue. Wipe the kittens clean afterwards.
Keep them clean all over by daily wipe-downs with a soft damp towel. If the kittens are unable to suckle their mother in the first twenty-four hours to receive colostrum, it is advisable to take them to a veterinary surgeon who will dose them with a small quantity of normal cat serum to give them antibody protection against disease.

How to Introduce a New Dog to Your Current Dog

In the canine world, scent marking is an important means of communication, and when a new individual is acquired, there may be an apparent breakdown in the toilet training of the established dog. In reality, however, this tends to be related to the stress induced by the intrusion of the newcomer. This situation is worse in the case of male dogs. This is because they have a higher level of the male sex hormone, called testosterone, in their circulation, which serves, amongst other functions, to stimulate territorial marking with urine.

Perhaps not surprisingly, such behaviour is unlikely to become apparent much before puberty, and peaks in young dogs between their second and third year. This phase should pass as the order of dominance is reasserted, but if it persists, then rather than punish the dog for what is a natural reaction to an incursion on to its territory, you should discuss the problem with your vet. Castration of both dogs can be advisable under these circumstances. This will certainly reduce the level of soiling indoors, and hopefully eliminate it entirely in these surroundings.

For a shorter-term option, however, the use of a progesterone-type drug may resolve the problem, allowing the dogs to become better acquainted in this time. If you catch the dog spraying indoors, you can treat it as outlined earlier with regard to toilet training, but it is most unwise to react at a later stage. This will be perceived as a further attack on its status, and the cause will not be appreciated, and consequently the situation can inadvertently be worsened.

There can be times when dogs, either living in groups or on their own, may become more aggressive or excitable than normal. This often occurs before a thunderstorm. Dogs arc able to detect the sounds of the storm before these are audible to our cars, and will become scared. In severe cases, you may need to obtain sedatives from your vet, especially if you live in an area where thunderstorms arc a fairly regular occurrence. Alternatively you may want to try to desensitize your dogs by recording the noise of a storm, and then playing this back to them. Start at a low volume, giving plenty of encouragement, and provided that the dogs do not become distressed, you can increase the volume somewhat. Repetition and making a fuss of your pets, effectively distracting their attention at first if they start to become nervous, should overcome the problem over a period. Time spent on this activity will not be wasted, especially if you have the misfortune to be caught out in a storm with the dogs. The last thing which you will want at this stage is for them to run off in opposite directions through fear.

You will need to feed the dogs separately, to avoid possible conflict over food. The garden can be useful for this purpose, as it is easy to separate the dogs without any risk of aggression at mealtimes.

Budgerigar Care

Tinge of different colors has been produced in budgerigars by captivity. The cere, which is the rectangular, fleshy area above the bill, varies in color with the bird’s sex: the male’s is yellow green or flesh color, and the female’s is chocolate brown. In the adult male, the cere is pale watery blue.
There are four toes, two pointing forwards and two pointing backwards. There is 61 members of the parrot family. Normal body temperature is 42.2°C. weight is about 50 grams.
Budgerigars are blind and naked when hatched. Eyes open at six days and month plumage is complete. Adult budgerigars moult irregularly throughout the year. However, control of light and dark and control of humidity can regulate moulting. There is no way of estimating age except by leg rings. Older birds tend to have longer upper beaks and nails grow longer with age and become more friable. In immature birds, plumage markings are fainter, and the forehead shows faint, dark bars. When maturity is reached at three to four months, but cocks should not be allowed for breeding under ten months, and hens under eleven months. The lifespan of females up to six years, males up to eight years, though some can live to twenty years.

Housing Budgerigar

Budgerigars are hardy and can be kept outside all year round once they are acclimatised.
As pets they benefit from daily exercise and can be allowed to fly around the room or around the house, although care must be taken with glass, windows and mirrors.
A cage that is too small is a common cause of illness in parrots.
The galah is especially suited to aviary life as it is a proven breeder in captivity. However, as it is one of the bigger members of the parrot family it requires a large aviary.
Budgerigars will breed all year round if allowed. If possible have equal members of the sexes and pair them in separate cages before introducing to the breeding aviary. Some pairs are incompatible.
Compatible birds rub their beaks and ‘kiss’ and the cock feeds the hen. If the hen declines the cock she pecks him and refuses to be fed by him. The nest box should be introduced some five to seven days after mating a pair. Most hens commence to lay at ten days after nest introduction. If they do not, they should be returned to the aviary and another hen substituted. Because eggs are laid every second day, the young hatch every second day. They are born bare of all feathers.
Budgerigars live in flocks naturally and hence may be kept in community cages. Breeding will take place in wooden nest boxes 15 X 15 X 23 centimeters The entrance hole in each box should be 4 centimeters in diameter, with a perch provided in front of the entrance. Breeding boxes should be left uncleaned, as the excreta provides a good source of heat during its decomposition. Perches should be 12-17 millimeters in diameter, and the birds will also relish irregular twigs for perching.


The cock feeds the hen while she is sitting on the nest. The young are fed by both parents by the regurgitation of partly digested seed. They leave the nest at six weeks of age and are fed for several more days by the parents. Young birds should be left with their parents for ten days, if compatible, after they have learnt to fly so that the older birds may encourage the youngsters to shell seed for themselves.
Male birds talk better than females, and it is best to remove young birds within a few days of actively leaving the nest if you wish to train them as talkers. An ideal feed for budgerigars is canary seed 7 parts, panicum 12 parts, whole oats 1 part. Green feed is essential, such as seeding grass, silver beet, carrots or apples. In addition, the daily use of a vitamin mineral drop in the water is recommended. Shell grit, cuttlebone, and iodized salt blocks are recommended additives. On leaving the nest, the young birds may be given canary seed in place of millet, as it has a higher protein content.

Dog Worming

The four main categories of worms that affect the intestinal tract are hookworm, roundworm, tapeworm and whipworm. In the tropical climates heartworm is also a problem (it lives in the right ventricle of the heart).
Breeding bitches should be wormed three or four times a year, including a treatment midway through pregnancy, with a safe worming preparation that covers roundworm, whipworm, hookworm and tapeworm. Vaccinations against distemper and hepatitis midway through the pre 2 nancy will give the pups a healthy, passive immunity which will last the:: to the age of six to nine weeks. The antibodies developed against the vaccination will be passed to the young pups in the colostrum in the first twenty-four to thirty-six hours of suckling.
Pregnant dogs should be wormed at three and six weeks Puppies at three weeks and each two weeks until 12 weeks of age and then three times per year for life. Always dispose of dog farces Keep dogs well groomed and flea free. Wash hands after handling animals. Avoid contact with dogs feces. Don’t foul public places.


Hookworms are 10-20 millimeters in length, and the adult forms are found firmly attached to the lining of the gut. Surveys indicate that in many canine populations the incidence is about 35 per cent.
The life cycle of hookworms is direct—there is no intermediate host, although transport hosts (for example, mice) can play a part in the worm’s transmission.
Female hookworms are prolific egg producers, averaging an output of 10 000 to 30 000 eggs per female per day. A heavily infected puppy can pass Hookworms Hookworms are 10-20 millimeters in length, and the adult forms are found firmly attached to the lining of the gut. Surveys indicate that in many canine populations the incidence is about 35 per cent.
The life cycle of hookworms is direct—there is no intermediate host, although transport hosts (for example, mice) can play a part in the worm’s transmission.
Female hookworms are prolific egg producers, averaging an output of 10 000 to 30 000 eggs per female per day. A heavily infected puppy can pass consideration should be given to early weaning and worming treatment of puppies, together with housing of the dogs on suspended wire floors. It is possible that a vaccination against hookworm will be produced in the foreseeable future.


Heartworm affects dogs in tropical and subtropical areas of the world. As the name implies, heartworms live in the chambers of the heart, and feed on the blood. The worms are thin and 12-30 centimeters in length. The number of worms that occupy an infected dog’s heart may vary from a single worm to more than a hundred. In small numbers the presence of the worms may have little effect, but as the number of worms increases, so does the mechanical effect on the heart. Gradually the heart becomes less efficient until the dog begins to show the symptoms of chronic heart failure, namely coughing, low exercise tolerance and fluid accumulation resulting in a swollen abdomen. Severe heartworm infection may result in death.
The heartworm is transmitted by mosquitoes. The adult worms in the heart of an infected dog produce larval stages called microfilaria which circulate in the blood and are picked up by biting mosquitoes. The microfilaria go through another stage of development in the mosquito and can be transmitted to another dog that is bitten by the infected mosquito. In the newly infected dog the microfilaria go through more stages of development, becoming adult worms in the heart about six or seven months later. The adult worms then repeat the cycle. Heartworm is not considered a human health hazard. Other animals, including cats, have been reported with heartworm infections, but this is extremely rare.
In most cases heartworm can be diagnosed by a simple blood test. In more complex cases, further examination by X-rays, electrocardiograms or additional blood tests may be necessary. Because heartworm produces specific symptoms of chronic heart failure and congestion, the veterinarian who sees a dog with the symptoms of heart disease will consider heartworm as a possible cause and carry out the necessary tests. Dogs that live in heartworm areas should be checked regularly, even if they are not showing signs of heartworm disease, to ensure they are not in the early stages of infection. A single blood test or two tests at a short interval will usually indicate the presence of adult heartworms

Heartworm Treatment

Infected dogs are usually hospitalized for treatment. Drugs are then administers: which kill the adult heartworms. The break-up and dislodgement of worm segments can cause side-effects necessitating urgent veterinary attention. The course of treatment may be dangerous depending on the number of worms.

Heartworm Prevention

  • Control mosquitoes by preventing their access to their still water breedir.J. grounds. Rain water tanks, buckets and stagnant ponds should be coverec. or drained.
  • Administration of heartworm preventative medication. (H.P.M.)
  • Puppies should commence H.P.M. as soon as they commence solids. They can start without a prior blood test.
  • Dogs over six months require a blood test confirming they are negative prior to commencing H.P.M.
  • Dogs entering a heartworm area for holidays etc. should commence H.P.M. 4 weeks before and continue 8 weeks after.
  • H.P.M. can be given as a syrup, tablets or chewables. Scientists are working on a vaccine. Currently, depending on the drug chosen, H.P.M. can be given either daily or monthly. Because heartworm can be so dangerous to your pet it is best to consult with your veterinarian.


Whipworms, 4-7 millimeters long, get their name because the first part of their body is long and slender and the back part is short and thick. In many city dog populations there is an incidence of approximately 15 per cent. Whipworms are particularly common in areas with a heavy concentration of dogs.
The worms have a simple life cycle with no intermediate host. Diarrhea, often associated with abdominal pain and dehydration, may indicate the presence of whipworms. The diarrhea is characteristically dark and foul-smelling. Sometimes there are signs of central nervous excitation. In heavy infections, fresh blood may be seen in the farces and there may be generalized jaundice associated with anaemia. Positive diagnosis is made on finding whipworm eggs in the farces under the microscope.
The most important factor in the control of whipworm is the remarkable longevity of the eggs. They remain viable within a wide temperature range and thus an important source of reinfection for up to five years. This means that even dogs with light whipworm infections held in confined spaces such as kennels or training areas will seed the area with eggs that will be a continual source of reinfection. It may therefore be necessary to treat such dogs every ten weeks for a year or more before the residual source of eggs is exhausted.


There are many species of tapeworm, but the one most commonly seen by pet owners is the flea tapeworm. The most important tapeworm to avoid in terms of human health is the hydatid.


The occurrence of this tapeworm in dogs is widespread in rural areas in many countries.
The adult hydatid worm lives in the intestine of the dog. The eggs are passed in the dog’s farces Intermediate hosts include a wide range of animals, sheep, cattle, goats, pigs, kangaroos, wallabies, and human beings—but sheep are by far the most important. In some countries, the domestic dog/sheep life cycle ensures the survival and transmission of the parasite. The eggs, when ingested by an intermediate host, pass to the small intestine and hatch to release a small cyst. The cysts penetrate the tissues of the small intestine, enter the blood vessels and are carried to the liver. Some pass through the liver to the lungs and central nervous system.
Human infection occurs only from the accidental ingestion of embryonated eggs of the hydatid tapeworm which are passed by the dog in its farces The worm itself is of little significance to the dog. However, the intermediate or cystic stage is important, firstly in relation to sheep and the economic loss associated with condemnation of hydatidinfected livers at slaughter, and secondly as a cause of hydatid disease in human beings.
The eggs of the hydatid tapeworm can be seen in the farces under the microscope.
To control hydatids all canine infections need to be eradicated. Prevent reinfection of dogs by adequately disposing of infected offal and sheep carcasses. Control strays and free-roaming farm dogs.
The flea tapeworm surveys indicate that up to 65 per cent of dogs in city areas may be affected with the flea tapeworm. Segments of the tapeworm are passed in the farces or may leave the dog spontaneously. They move actively on the dog’s anal area or on the ground and bedding, disseminating egg capsules which are swallowed by the maggot-like flea larva. When the flea larvae mature into adult fleas, dogs become infected by ingesting them while scratching and biting themselves.
The flea tapeworm is of little significance in dogs, except that it causes itchiness around the anal area; to relieve this the dog will scoot (rub its anal area on the ground). Anal itchiness with scooting and rubbing is common.
Segments of the tapeworm are often seen on the surface of the farces They are about 1 centimeter long, flat, pinkish-grey in color and active.
Unless preventive measures are taken dogs will rapidly become reinfected and may passing large numbers of segments in their farces within weeks of treatment. The tapeworm has an indirect life cycle involving fleas and lice as intermediate hosts, and this complicates prevention. Unless fleas are controlled, -_-infection can occur rapidly and repeatedly. Children may become infected ..-py the accidental ingestion of fleas; and the habit of picking fleas from dogs and crushing them between the fingernails is most unhygienic.


Surveys indicate that 40-50 per cent of most dog populations are affected by round worm. Infection may be by one of five routes: Direct infection, when a puppy eats the eggs directly from fecal matter. Within one month adult female worms will be present in the dog’s body although eggs may not be present in the dog’s farces for six to eight weeks. The eggs hatch in the intestine, releasing small larval stages of the roundworm which migrate to the liver within two days. The larval stages also migrate to the lungs and are coughed up and reswallowed into the intestinal tract. During this phase they may go to the uterus of a female dog and, if the bitch is pregnant, infect her unborn puppies.
Intrauterine infection—which occurs when female dogs older than one to three months eat infective eggs and the larval stages become arrested in the bitch’s uterine tissues. If the bitch becomes pregnant, the larval stage is mobilized during the last fourteen days of the pregnancy and migrates through the placenta to the developing fetus, thus initiating an intrauterine roundworm infestation. Infected puppies have larval stages in their lungs when they are born. Eggs of the roundworm can thus appear in the farces of puppies as early as three weeks after birth, and the production of these eggs from the mature female roundworms in the intestinal tract increases up to six months. Not all the dormant larvae in the uterus may be mobilized at the first pregnancy after infection. Some larvae may still be available for fetal infection in subsequent pregnancies.
Roundworms are the most common worm found in a dog. The transmammary infection takes place when roundworm in the larva stages are transmitted through the milk of the bitch. Post parturient infections in bitches—these are caused either by the resumption of the development of dormant roundworm larval stages, or by the ingestion by the bitch of larval stages shed by her prenatally infected pups. During the suckling period the bitch ingests most of her puppies’ feces and any eggs therein have not had time to reach the infective stage; the eggs therefore pass through the bitch and are disseminated in her feces. After period in the environment they reach the infective stage, and then when eaten they complete their life cycle.
Infections through hosts may occur when dogs eat the carcasses of rodents and other animals containing larval stages of the roundworm. The principal symptoms associated with roundworm infection are: coughing, nasal discharge, frequent vomiting (especially after meals), stuntec: growth, intermittent diarrhea, failure to eat, distended and painful stomach, and sometimes convulsions. If the condition is severe, puppies may die within twelve hours to a few days after birth. Postmortem examination of the puppies will confirm the diagnosis. In older animals the diagnosis is made by the fecal flotation test.
The most important aspect of roundworm treatment is to control and limit the effects of prenatal infections in young puppies. Puppies should receive two worming treatments during the first three weeks of life, ideally at two weeks and three weeks. Subsequently, between four and twelve weeks of age, puppies should have fortnightly treatments to ensure complete removal of the infection, because the worming preparations currently available are not completely effective against migrating larval stages.
In addition, puppies less than one or two months old are highly susceptible to direct infestation by roundworm eggs from infected bitches or previously contaminated kennel environments. Puppies may acquire infection from larval stages which are known to be transmitted in the milk of infected bitches. The puppies should be examined at four and eight weeks after birth to ensure freedom from roundworm eggs. It is important to realize that as bitches can become temporarily reinfected in the suckling period and so become a potential source of infection for the puppies, they also should be treated when the pups are three and four weeks old. This treatment of the bitch will not prevent later intrauterine infection. The bitch’s farces should be collected and burnt daily throughout the suckling period.
Eggs of the roundworm may be found on the coats of both bitches and pups, so children should be discouraged from handling the animals during the suckling period—if possible, puppies should be reared in an enclosure until weaning.
The female roundworm produces an enormous number of eggs which unfortunately are highly resistant to the environment and can survive and remain infective for years. The complexity of the roundworm life cycle makes control difficult. The particular susceptibility of young dogs to roundworm means that they are the most important sources of infection for other animals and for human beings. The bitch has an especially important role as a reservoir of infection for successive generations of dogs.

Flea Tape Worm

Surveys indicate that up to 65 per cent of dogs in city areas may be affected with the flea tapeworm. Segments of the tapeworm are passed in the farces or may leave the dog spontaneously. They move actively on the dog’s anal area or on the ground and bedding, disseminating egg capsules which are swallowed by the maggot-like flea larva. When the flea larvae mature into adult fleas, dogs become infected by ingesting them while scratching and biting themselves.
The flea tapeworm is of little significance in dogs, except that it causes itchiness around the anal area; to relieve this the dog will scoot (rub its anal area on the ground). Anal itchiness with scooting and rubbing is common.
Segments of the tapeworm are often seen on the surface of the farces They are about 1 centimeter long, flat, pinkish-grey in color and active.
Unless preventive measures are taken dogs will rapidly become reinfected and may passing large numbers of segments in their farces within weeks of treatment. The tapeworm has an indirect life cycle involving fleas and lice as intermediate hosts, and this complicates prevention. Unless fleas are controlled infection can occur rapidly and repeatedly. Children may become infected puppy the accidental ingestion of fleas; and the habit of picking fleas from dogs and crushing them between the fingernails is most unhygienic.

Horse Worming

Horses are host to a number of internal parasites or worms. Many owners erroneously think that if a horse is fat and performs well there is no need to treat it for worms. Even in small numbers, some worms can cause severe and permanent damage to the internal organs of the horse, particularly young horses and aged horses. A regular preventative worming program is essential.
Worms have adapted to survive and spread rapidly in horse populations. They do not multiply within a horse’s body, but through eggs passed in manure. These eggs are passed in huge numbers and contaminate the horse surroundings, Because horses graze close to the ground they are prone to rapid re-infestation in short pastures. Under damp conditions worm eggs and larvae can survive for extended periods on pastures and stable bedding. Immature developing stages of the worm cause severe damage to internal organs of the horse’s body. Unfortunately, these immature migrating stages are not affected by worming compounds. As young horses have, little resistance to worms, they are prone to heavy infestation during developmental period. The state of pregnancy in mares allows resting.
Because of the mature stages of the worm to activate, thus ensuring that the foal is guaranteed early worm infestation. Some worm species have built up resistant against certain worming compounds. Those that survive the treatments rapidly pass resistance to new generations. As a result, worms may persist although regular worming has been carried out, making it necessary to change worming compounds regularly.

How to Diagnose a Wormy Horse

Most horses have worms, but it is normally a question of how many and what type. A combination of clinical signs, combined with a check for eggs in the manure, is the most practical method of diagnosis. Sometimes clinical signs of worm infestation may not be obvious, and a dramatic response to worming might be the only indication that worms were present. The general symptoms indicating the presence of worms are failure to thrive, poor appetite, poor condition, rough coat, reduced performance, lack of stamina, pale gums, anaemia, poor recovery from work, impaired digest bouts of colic or constipation, lack of vigor, pot-bellied appearance, poor growth rates, diarrhea, coughing, nervousness, persistent scours diarrhea) in foals, without a rise in temperature (and not associated with heat in mares), tail rubbing, skin irritation or discharge from the eyes
Manure examination is the best way to diagnose which worm is pres.= and to what extent it is causing the problem. Collect a fresh sample of warm droppings. One ball of manure is required. If there is diarrhea. Collect about 20 milliliters (3 tablespoons).
Place the sample in a small glass or other container, label it with the name of the horse, date of collect date of last worming, and the wormer used. Store it in a refrigerator and take it to your vet as soon as possible. If long-distance travel is involved, cool de sample in ice. Under refrigerated conditions worm eggs will delay hatching for seventy-two hours. Samples of diarrhea, however, must be examined within twenty-four hours. Results from manure worm egg counts will enable your vet to give you the best advice on the methods of treating and controlling worm infestation in your horse.

Horse Worming Schedule

  • Worm pregnant mares every three weeks until a month before foaling.
  • Do not use organophosphates in late pregnancy.
  • Worm lactating mares every four weeks until foals are weaned.
  • Worm foals when they are two weeks old, again at eight weeks, and then every six weeks until weaning.
  • Worm foals every eight weeks from weaning onwards.
  • Worm adult horses every four weeks while the worm burden is present, and extend the period to eight weeks once control has been achieved.
  • All horses over the age of six months should be wormed every eight weeks.
  • Change the type of wormer every six to twelve months.
  • Worm all horses in a group at the same time.
  • All new horses, introduced horses (including foals over six weeks of age), and horses returning from agistment should be wormed on arrival.
  • Oral pastes are just as effective as drenches by stomach-tube, provided the horse gets the full dose.
  • If a resistance problem develops, the vet may need to make up a special mixture, unavailable as a commercial paste—and this will need to be given by stomach-tube.

Worming Compounds

Most modern worming compounds are very efficient in removing ac: worms. They are formulated into injections, suspensions, powders, granule. pastes and pellets.
Worming preparations come and go according to their effica:. against the different species and the build-up of resistance. It is advisable to check with your veterinarian as to which product should be used currently

How to Give a Worm Paste

Slide your flattened left hand into the left side of the horse’s mouth where there are no teeth.
Take hold of the tongue with your whole fist and turn the tongue back on itself—so that your clenched fist with tongue inside is forcing the jaws apart.
Pull the tongue out of the left side of the mouth through the toothless area as far as possible.
Holding the paste in your right hand, enter it via the right side of the mouth and deposit the contents as far back on the tongue as possible.
Then let the tongue go, and elevate the horse’s chin until the paste has been swallowed.


Pinworms come in two sizes, male and female being greatly differentiated. The male pinworm is 1 centimeter long and the female 12 centimeters. The female migrates to the anus of the horse where she deposits her eggs, up to 60000 at a time, around the area under the tail in a mass of yellowish sticky jelly. After laying the eggs she dies. This process causes the horse to be intensely itchy in the tail area and is responsible for tail-rubbing. The intense rubbing causes eggs to fall off on to the ground or into feed utensils and water troughs, so that the horse re-contaminates itself.
Typical signs of pinworm infestation Heavy infestation of adult pinworms causes a loss of condition or general ill-health, mild diarrhea, and excessive rubbing of hindquarters to relieve the itchiness caused by the eggs. Infected horses continuously rub their tail on fences, posts, trees and feed bins, not only pushing over fences and stretching wires, but also denuding the base of the tail of hair.
Horses that spend a lot of time trying to relieve the irritation may not feed. Pinworms are effectively eradicated by most worming treatments (described later). In addition mercurial ointments can be deposited inside the anus to kill the adults.


Tapeworms are not very common in horses. Adult horses are not affected, though young foals can become infested when grazing contaminated pastures. This can lead to poor growth, diarrhea

Large Stomach Worms

Large stomach worms (habronema) live in large nodules or growths it stomach wall. The adult worm is about 2 centimeters long, white, and resemble as a pin. The females lay very small eggs which are passed in the mat and then swallowed by fly maggots. When the maggot pupates it hatches a fly, still carrying the larval stage of the large stomach worm in its stomach parts.
The common small black housefly and the stable fly are COME carriers. As the fly feeds, it deposits larvae around the horse’s mouth eyes, and on cuts and sores. Horses may also eat whole flies that crowd fezi bins. The larvae gather in the stomach and invade the gastric lining. Clinical signs of habronema infestation Typical disorders include pussy conjunctivitis, lumps of proud-flesh-type tissue, irritation to cuts and sores (commonly called summer sores or cutaneous habronemiasis).
These worms can affect skin on the shoulders, belly, sh and penis, causing itchy lesions which the horse rubs vigorously. A worms live in the gastric lining, and heavy infestations may cause inflammation and ulceration of the stomach wall, interfering with digest: Large numbers may cause colic and unthriftiness. Again, most worming preparations are effective.

Large Strongyle Worms

Large strongyle worms grow to 5 centimeter long and are about as thick as the lead in a pencil. They are commonly called large red worms. Another worm in this group, the bloodworm, is about half the size.
Despite its smaller size, the immature wandering bloodworm is considered one of the most damaging of all internal worms in the horse. The adult female can lay as many as 5000 to 6000 eggs a day. These are passed out in the manure and then hatch to contaminate the horse’s environment. The horse eats the larvae when grazing, eating hay or food from the ground, or picking at stable bedding. The larvae then travel to the intestine and burrow into the bowel wall.
The bloodworm larvae migrate along and within the walls of the major arteries that supply blood to the gut and the hind limbs, and can cause aneurisms. These occur when the wall of the blood vessel becomes thin and forms a bulge, thus inhibiting blood flow to the gut and hind limbs. When they have completed this damage, the fully developed larvae migrate back to the bowel, develop into adult bloodworms, and commence production of eggs. This whole phase takes up to six months.
Large red worm larvae migrate through the organs in the gut cavity. They burrow into the lining of these organs and grow to almost mature size, leaving huge scars as they burrow. After several months of migration through these organs, they then return to the large bowel for the development phase to the adult.
Clinical signs of large strongyle infestation Large strongyle adults attach themselves to the lining of the large bowel. They feed on the lining and reduce nutrients available to the horse. They also take blood from the horse as they feed. In large numbers they can cause anaemia and symptoms of illness such as poor coat, lack of stamina, poor condition, colic, lameness and `tying up’ because of restricted blood flow to hindlimb muscles. At this stage very little can be done in the way of treatment except to adopt a stringent worming program and hope the horse can compensate the blood flow caused by the aneurism.


Bots are the larval stages of the horse bot-fly. They attach themselves to the horse’s stomach wall during one period of their life cycle. The bot-fly lays its yellow eggs on the hairs on the front legs and flanks of the horse in autumn. (The life cycle can be broken by shaving off the eggs or by wiping over with kerosene.) These eggs are licked off by the horse, and hatch in the moist conditions of the gastrointestinal tract. In early spring the larvae detach from the stomach wall and pass out into the manure. They burrow into the soil and after a few months, depending on the temperature, emerge as adult bot-flies.

Typical Signs of Adult Bot-Fly Infestation

Adult bot-flies annoy horses as they dart around their legs to deposit the eggs. Young horses may be panic stricken and gallop off and run into fences. Sometimes horses in groups will fetlock. Using the other hand, clean out the foot with the hoof pick. Make sure that all dirt and stones are picked out, particularly in the grooves beside the frog. (The frog is the triangular area in the centre of the sole. It is slightly rubbery and acts as a shock absorber to help prevent the leg from being jarred. It also helps return blood from the ends of the horse’s leg to the heart.
The frog should be kept trimmed so that it does not provide a crevice for infection such as thrush to grow.) Always clean out your horse’s feet before and after it is ridden. If the horse is kept in a stable, its feet should be picked out every day. Once the feet have been thoroughly cleaned inside and out, a hoof dressing can be applied.

Pet Parrots

The more common cause of illness in parrots is incorrect feeding and general management, particularly lack of exercise from too small a cage. Other factors are poor hygiene from placing perches over food and water, cluttering the cage with feeding utensils and toys, and exposure to draughts or marked fluctuation in temperature. In addition, marked variations in the length of time the bird is exposed to light and/or solitary confinement for long periods produce boredom and self-plucking of feathers. Exposure to direct sunlight for long periods without shelter, failure to remove stale food and provide plenty of water, and failure to provide green food are further causes of illness in the parrot family.
Parrots are capable of inflicting skin wounds and should be handled with gloves. When grasping the parrot always try to hold it by the neck with one hand allowing the head and beak to protrude through. The two legs and wings should be held by the other hand.


A suitable feed for parrots is sunflower seed 5 parts, oats 3 parts, plain canary seed 1 part, panicum seed 1/2 part, white millet 1/2 part. Parrots purchased as youngsters are often being fed from a teaspoon on a porridge-like mixture of powdered milk and cornmeal. The new owner must continue with this until the parrot is old enough to dehull its own seed. For cockatoos an ideal feed is sunflower seed 5 parts, whole oats 3 parts, corn 1 part and wheat 1 part. Canary seed and linseed may be added if the bird enjoys them. Parrots will also eat green foods and peanuts. Smaller parrots may be fed with the mixture recommended above for budgerigars. All parrots can handle sunflower seed.
Beaks that are distorted or overgrown need to be ground back with sandpaper. Cuttlefish bone should also be supplied in the cage for the birds to do this naturally. Parakeets are inquisitive and eat almost anything placed in their cage. Parakeets need canary seed, millet seed and steel-cut oats in a ratio of 1:1 for young birds, and 1: 2 :1 for adults. Grit is essential for all caged birds. Pulverised eggshell and 1 per cent iodised salt are also beneficial.


Sexing the parrot family is very difficult and depends on the species of parrot. As there are hundreds of different species, it is impossible to describe the male and female colour differences in this book. Check with a parrot breeder, or with one of the reference books specialising in this subject.


Breeding parrots is a specialised job. Parrots usually nest in shafts inside hollow trees. For the larger parrots these shafts are up to 2 metres deep. In captivity parrots’ nesting logs should be lined with sawdust or wood shavings. Smaller parrots will use hollow logs suspended from the aviary roof or a larger version of a budgerigar nest.