Avian Mycoplasma is a genus of bacteria that cause various diseases in birds, including respiratory infections and joint infections. These bacteria are small, pleomorphic organisms that lack cell walls. This means they can’t be killed by antibiotics that target cell wall synthesis.
Mycoplasma can infect their respiratory, gastrointestinal and reproductive tracts, causing a variety of symptoms depending on the species involved and the organs affected.
Symptoms of Avian Mycoplasma
Mycoplasma infections can cause a variety of symptoms in birds, including:
- Respiratory difficulty
- Nasal discharge
- Anorexia (loss of appetite)
- Weight loss and increased water consumption
In severe cases, the infection can spread to their joints and cause joint swelling and lameness. Other less common symptoms include:
- Eye inflammation
- Urinary tract infections
Diagnosing Avian Mycoplasma
In order to diagnose mycoplasma, a veterinarian will take a sample of your bird’s respiratory or joint fluid and send it to a laboratory for testing. The laboratory will look for the presence of mycoplasma organisms in the sample. If they are present, the bird has an active infection and will need to be treated with specific antibiotics.
Stages of Avian Mycoplasma
Avian mycoplasma infections can be split into two stages: acute and chronic.
In the acute stage, your bird will have signs of respiratory distress and weight loss.
The infection can progress to the chronic stage if left untreated. In this stage, your bird can have prolonged bouts of illness with recurrent episodes of coughing and sneezing.
Treating Avian Mycoplasma
Avian mycoplasma is treated primarily with antibiotics that are designed to target the bacteria. Depending on the severity of the infection, antibiotics may be administered orally or through injections. It’s important to finish the full course of antibiotics, even if symptoms improve quickly, this will ensure that all of the bacteria have been eliminated from your bird’s system.
Preventing Avian Mycoplasma
In addition to treating avian mycoplasma, it’s important to take steps to prevent the infection from occurring. Good hygiene practices and strict quarantine protocols should be implemented to reduce the risk of spreading the disease. Vaccines are also available for some species of birds, however they aren’t always effective in preventing mycoplasma infections.