All You Need to Know About Heart Disease in Birds

Heart disease in birds

Heart disease can be a deadly condition for birds. While some breeds are more susceptible than others, no bird is immune to it. A wide variety of factors can cause heart disease in birds, many of which we can control. If you notice any symptoms in your pet bird that concern you, please consult an avian vet immediately.


While it’s true that a variety of conditions can cause heart disease, the most common causes are:

  • Age. As pet birds age, their immune system becomes weaker, and they’re more likely to develop heart disease.
  • Genetics. Birds with inbreeding tend to have higher rates of heart problems than those who aren’t the product of inbreeding, due mainly to genetic factors such as smaller body size and lower birth weights—both of which increase the risk for cardiovascular issues later on down the line.
  • Diet/environmental factors such as toxins or pollutants in their surroundings (e.g., cigarette smoke) can also affect whether or not your bird develops heart disease over time. However, genetics also plays an important role here because some birds may be more susceptible than others when exposed to these harmful substances.


Heart disease in birds can cause symptoms such as difficulty breathing and a swollen abdomen. Birds with heart disease may also have a swollen, discolored throat; difficulty flying or being unable to fly; lethargy and depression; or a weak pulse.

A veterinarian can determine if your bird has heart disease by performing a physical examination and diagnostic tests such as an electrocardiogram (ECG), ultrasound, chest X-ray, or blood work.


There are a few different ways to diagnose heart disease in birds. The most common is through physical examination and blood tests, but the vet could also use x-rays if he suspects an issue with the bird’s heart.

Once your vet has determined that your bird is suffering from heart disease, they will need to determine which type of condition it falls under. There are several different types of avian cardiomyopathy—some are more treatable than others.


Once a bird is diagnosed with heart disease, treatment will depend on the severity of its condition. If they show signs of heart disease, such as breathing problems or difficulty maintaining balance, a veterinarian may recommend medication to help improve their condition.

If you suspect your bird has heart disease and think it might be time for them to see a veterinarian, you can use our directory to find one near you!


The prognosis for heart disease in birds depends on the severity of the condition. If your bird has been diagnosed and treated early, as well as receiving ongoing treatment as needed, their prognosis may be good. On the other hand, if your bird was not diagnosed early enough or properly treated during illness, your pet’s prognosis could be poor.


Heart disease is not just a concern for humans but also for birds. Many different things, including diet and genetics, can cause it. The symptoms of heart disease in birds include changes in behavior, weight loss or gain without any change in food intake, respiratory problems (such as coughing), and difficulty breathing. Your vet will want to perform various tests to diagnose your bird’s heart disease and determine its type based on its findings. If treatment options are available, they’ll work with you on how best to treat them based on your situation so that there’s no delay between diagnosis & treatment, which can result in serious consequences.