MEMBERS of the order Psittaciformes are prone to many infectious and husbandry-related conditions and, like many birds, they frequently mask any signs of illness until very late in the course of disease as a survival strategy to prevent predator attack of a weak or sickly individual. However, some of the more obvious signs of disease, such as vomiting, regurgitation, diarrhoea and loss of condition, are seen in cases of gastrointestinal disorders. The term 'diarrhoea' may not always be a strictly accurate one, as polyuria also causes the production of watery droppings due to the fact that the cloaca functions as a communal collecting chamber for both the digestive and urinary systems. It may therefore be difficult to distinguish between these two conditions. This article describes the diagnosis and approach to treatment of the more common gastrointestinal diseases in psittacine birds.
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