Avian Bumblefoot

a doctor holding a sign for avian bumblefoot

Avian bumblefoot (also known as pododermatitis) is a common and sometimes painful condition seen in birds. It occurs when their feets’ skin becomes inflamed, often due to a bacterial or a fungal infection. Symptoms include swelling, redness, crusting, scales, and skin thickening. In severe cases, lesions or ulcers can form on their feet.

Avian bumblefoot is most commonly seen in pet birds, especially those kept in cages. It can develop when a bird stands on an uneven or rough surface for too long, and it’s often the result of inadequate cage cleaning or unclean water bowls. Other factors that can contribute to bumblefoot include obesity, poor nutrition, trauma, and certain medical conditions.

Bumblefoot is most common in Cockatiels and Budgies (Parakeets).

Symptoms of Avian Bumblefoot

The primary symptom of bumblefoot is swelling and redness in their feet. It can also cause scabbing, scales, and skin thickening. In severe cases, lesions or ulcers can form on their feet. Bumblefoot can be painful for birds, and they could limp or favor one side when standing or walking.

Diagnosing Avian Bumblefoot

Bumblefoot is typically diagnosed through examining their feet and a review of their medical history. In some cases, additional tests can be necessary to determine if there is an underlying cause, such as bacterial or fungal infection.

Stages of Avian Bumblefoot

Bumblefoot can be split into four stages:

Stage 1

Swelling and feet redness, often with scabbing or scaling.

Stage 2

Lesions can form on their feet.

Stage 3

Additional swelling and skin thickening.

Stage 4

Skin ulceration, which can be very painful for the bird.

Treating Avian Bumblefoot

Avian bumblefoot can usually be treated at home, but it’s important to consult a veterinarian if the symptoms are severe or don’t improve with home care. Treatment typically involves cleaning and disinfecting the affected area, as well as giving supportive care such as antibiotics and topical ointments. In more severe cases, surgery can be necessary to remove dead or damaged tissue.

Preventing Avian Bumblefoot

Avian bumblefoot can be prevented by ensuring that your bird’s cage and water bowls are kept clean, giving them comfortable perches for them to stand on, maintaining a healthy diet, and avoiding trauma or injury to their feet.