Chapter 170 Avian Dermatology
Skin and feather disorders are common in companion avian species. Since many of these disorders have a psychological basis, either as the primary cause or as a contributing component, diagnosis and treatment can often be frustrating. A detailed history, physical examination, and assessment of a wide range of diagnostic tests are generally required for diagnosis.
Primary bacterial skin infections are uncommon. Most infections are secondary to trauma, including selfmutilation or other disease processes. The low incidence of primary pyoderma is thought to be due to high body temperatures and keratinocyte-derived lipids that inhibit bacteria growth.
Do not use topical antibiotic ointments, especially combination products containing corticosteroids, in birds. Oils from these products will be spread onto the feathers during preening, interfering with normal feather function. Birds can be extremely susceptible to the immunosuppressive effects of corticosteroids, even when applied topically.
Cutaneous neoplasms occur with relative frequency in companion birds. Most diagnostic and treatment protocols have been extrapolated from mammalian medicine. Refer to the corresponding chapters on mammalian neoplasia for details (see Section 3).