Blue: Budgie cnemidocoptic mange parasites

Introducing little Blue!

Diagnosis and treatment

Blue is a lovely 1 year old budgie who came to visit us when her owner noticed scaliness to her legs that quickly progressed to affect her beak and face as well. Her physical examination was otherwise unremarkable, and in herself she seemed well.

External parasites are quite rare in psittacine birds (the parrot family), with the exception of cnemidocoptic mange in the smaller bird species like budgies. Colloquially this condition is known as “scaly face”.

We were highly suspicious that this was what was affecting Blue. She was treated for this, and a diet change and introduction of UV lighting was recommended at home.

We are pleased that she has responded well to treatment.

Information for owners

Skin mites can be diagnosed by recognition of their typical lesions, skin scrape tests, biopsies of the skin, or by trialling response to treatment. Often one dose of treatment is enough to get on top of an infection, as was the case with Blue, but sometimes it needs to be repeated for a second or third dose.

In cases of cnemidocoptic mange, sometimes their nostrils can become blocked with the abnormal tissue growth.

Blue had some signs of tracts in her beak caused by the mites burrowing which has thankfully resolved with treatment.

In very severe cases, this can sometimes lead to permanent deformities of the beak.
If you notice any itchiness, or new lesions to your bird’s skin or feathers, then it is worth having a chat with your vet to make sure there isn’t anything underlying that might need investigating.