Two groups of internal parasitic worms affect budgies, namely flatworms and roundworms. Within these groups, around 23 different types of worms can infest budgies.
You can tell if a budgie has worms by looking for changes in its diet, fecal matter, and behavior.
Most infected budgies experience appetite fluctuations, intestinal obstructions, weight loss, diarrhea, and weakness. When infested with worms, budgies can develop lesions and become more vocal than usual.
Some worms can be treated with over-the-counter dewormers. However, it’s better to consult a vet as tests may be needed to confirm if your budgie has worms or another medical condition.
Does My Budgie Have Worms?
Worms aren’t commonly diagnosed in pet birds.
However, when present, they can cause weakness and loss of energy. Also, some parasites can cause serious medical conditions, such as diarrhea or even death, if left untreated.
Parasitic worms are found in various bodily organs. Most commonly, they live in the gastrointestinal tract, notably the stomach and small and large intestines.
Since worms vary in shape and size, they have different symptoms. Much depends on their species and where they live inside the budgie’s body.
How Do Budgies Get Worms?
Your budgie can get infected with worms if it comes into contact with infected:
Infected budgies can spread worms to healthy budgies and other birds after coming into close contact, contaminating the environment with their worm-infested fecal matter.
Feeding insects to your budgie or allowing them to eat insects can expose them to different worms. Infested bugs can make their way to your budgie’s cage even if you don’t allow your bird to feed on insects. Here, they spread worms to budgies by contaminating the food and water.
Types of Worms that Affect Budgies
Several types of worms affect budgies, but the three most common types include:
Let’s discuss each type in more detail:
According to a journal by Vet. Med. – Czech, ascarids are a type of roundworms that affect budgies.
They’re pink or white-colored worms with tapered ends that can be transmitted directly when a budgie ingests worm eggs.
The worms from the eggs live in the digestive tract and cause infestation. In cases of serious infestations, the gastrointestinal tract can experience obstructions.
Occasionally, ascarid larvae exit the gastrointestinal tract and migrate to surrounding tissues. Then, they settle in the tissues and develop larval cysts.
These cysts form when the cells surrounding the larvae form a capsule to encase the larvae.
Hairworms are thin, white, thread-like worms that infest a budgie’s throat or lower gastrointestinal tract.
They don’t cause as many problems as ascarid worms, but they can still cause diarrhea, anemia, weight loss, and vomiting.
Budgies infested with hairworms can shed worm eggs in their fecal matter, and these eggs can contaminate the environment and infest other birds.
Tapeworms are usually white-colored and look a bit like ribbons. They’re a class of flatworms often found in cockatoos and African Gray parrots.
However, according to the International Journal of Agricultural Science and Research, they’re the most common parasites observed in parakeets.
Tapeworms live inside a budgie’s lower gastrointestinal tract and steal nutrients from food and water. If your bird has tapeworms, it might start to appear thin and develop ruffled feathers, and it may also experience diarrhea or depression.
Budgies infected with tapeworms can excrete worm segments or whole worms in their fecal material. You can find evidence of worms in or around the vent.
However, most tapeworms don’t expel eggs in the feces of infected birds. Hence, an avian vet must diagnose tapeworms by looking for expelled whole worms or worm segments in feces.
How To Tell If A Budgie Has Worms
There’s a wide variety of symptoms associated with parasites. If you know what to look for, you can assist your budgie by taking measures to kill worms.
Worms in Budgies Symptoms
The most obvious symptom is finding worms in poop. However, depending on the worm species, there can be more subtle indicators, including the following:
|Roundworms:||Weakness, loss of energy, abnormal thinness, and intestinal obstruction.|
|Hairworms:||Loss of appetite, profuse weight loss, and bloody diarrhea.|
|Tapeworms:||Diarrhea and general weakness.|
Additional symptoms of worms in budgies include:
- A sudden change in behavior
- Increased vocalization
- An oily plumage
- An increase in the volume of droppings
- Pale or wet droppings
- Gain of appetite
If you think your budgie has worms, but can’t detect any of the symptoms, look for worms in poop.
Intestinal worms and parasites are partly excreted from the body with fecal matter. Look for tiny, round-edged, tapered, or thread-like white, pink, brown, or cream-colored pieces in your budgie’s poop.
Diagnosing Worms in Budgies
The diagnostic process begins with a thorough examination. The vet will look for symptoms and ask you about the history of your budgie’s exposure to other, possibly infested birds.
Since many symptoms of worms in budgies overlap with symptoms of other common conditions, your vet might have to run additional tests to narrow down the cause.
In addition to a fecal test, a vet may perform:
- Blood tests
Budgie Worm Treatment
Deworming medications are mostly anthelmintics. There are several types of deworming medicines, and your vet will provide one after considering the species of nematode infesting your budgie.
The most commonly prescribed medicines are:
Over-the-counter dewormers for budgies are available. The most active ingredient is levamisole hydrochloride; this active agent will target roundworms and hairworms. In particular, it’ll halt the enzyme activity of the worms’ muscles, leaving them paralyzed.
You’ll need prescription meds for tapeworms (flatworms), as they’re more difficult to treat.
Keep in mind that some non-prescription-strength dewormers rarely kill the worms directly. Instead, they boost the budgie’s ability to clear out the worms.
If you have several budgies living together, get them checked and treated for worms. It’s likely for healthy birds to contract worms if they come in contact with infested birds.
If a budgie lives in an outdoor aviary, conduct routine deworming at 3-6 month intervals.
How To Give Deworming Medicine To Budgies
The best way to administer deworming medication is by adding them to the budgie’s drinking water.
Mix 1 teaspoon full of deworming medication into 1 liter of fresh water (or as directed by your vet). A single dose is enough for deworming birds.
The flavor may be odd to budgies. To encourage them to drink, remove their water bowl from the cage. In the morning, provide water mixed with deworming medicine, as it’ll be thirsty enough to drink the medicine but not be at risk of dehydration.
After 2 hours, remove this water mixture and provide fresh, clean water. During this course, provide boiled rice and normal seed mix because they’ll flush out the dying worms from your budgie’s digestive tract. You can also provide herbs, such as fresh mint leaves and green coriander.
Make a fresh batch of water containing deworming medication daily. After 2-3 days, clean the cage to remove the worms excreted through the fecal matter.
Here are some tips for deworming a budgie:
Follow the mixing directions on the deworming medication as indicated by your vet. Giving an incorrect dose can harm your budgie. However, If the dose is too weak, it might not kill the worms.
Avoid Other Water Sources
If your budgie lives in an outdoor aviary, avoid treating for worms during extreme weather conditions, such as on rainy days. Your budgies might drink rainwater instead of the medicated water.
Don’t feed any fruit and vegetables to your budgie while it’s being dewormed since they contain a lot of water. If your budgies eat these, they’re likely to avoid drinking.
Don’t Worm Hatchlings
Ensure all budgies are wormed before the breeding season begins.
How Often Should You Worm Budgies?
Budgies kept inside should be wormed every 3-6 months, whereas budgies that live outdoors should be wormed 3-4 times per year.
Don’t worm baby budgies (chicks) until they turn 12 weeks old, as it can adversely affect their system.