Heart and Blood Vessel Disorders in Birds


PetMD Editorial

Published Jul. 1, 2008

Avian Heart And Blood Vessel Disorders

Many avian diseases affect not only the bird’s whole body, but also cause heart and blood vessel disorders in birds of any age, including young birds. These bird disorders are usually due to infections or old age. Just like humans in old age, some birds commonly suffer from heart and blood vessel disorders.

Symptoms and Types

If the heart and blood vessel disorders are due to old age, symptoms may include, difficulty walking and flying (or other movements), difficulty breathing, and a shortness of breath.

If the heart and blood vessel disorders are due to an infection, symptoms usually include, general lethargy, diarrhea and appetite loss.


Some infections that can cause heart and blood vessel disorders are polyomavirus and Pacheco’s disease, both of which are rapid and result in early death of the bird. And while some of the viruses can be deadly, protozoan parasites do not always cause a disease in the affected bird, unless triggered by stress or other illnesses.


Heart and blood vessel disorders caused by viral, bacterial or parasitic infections are generally diagnosed through blood tests.


After the disorder has been diagnosed, appropriate treatment will be recommended by the veterinarian according to the underlying cause. If it is due to an infection, antibiotics, antiviral and antifungal drugs will be used. Deworming, at times, is done to remove worms and their larvae, which might be causing a heart and blood vessel disorder.

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