Owning a budgie is a huge source of joy, but that joy can quickly turn to worry when you think something may be wrong with your budgie. Budgie’s chests can change size and shape from time to time for several different reasons, and it’s usually something that should be looked at by a particular Avian vet sooner rather than later.
The size or shape of a budgie’s chest can change due to one of a few different reasons, including a tumor, abscess, or a weight issue. The best way to find out the cause of your budgie’s swollen chest is to take him to see a veterinarian who specializes in avian health.
If you want to learn more helpful information about conditions related to budgies with swollen chests and how to help your budgie, keep on reading.
Why is My Budgie’s Chest Swollen?
Swollen areas on your budgie can indicate a condition ranging from mild to life-threatening. Several conditions can cause this symptom in budgies, like a:
- Ruptured air sac
- Weight issue
Note: In the worst cases, you’ll notice that your budgie lumps on his chest in addition to other symptoms such as:
- loss of appetite
- breathing difficulties
In cases like this, the next step would be to take your budgie to the vet immediately.
Your Budgie May Have a Ruptured Air Sac
Budgies, and any other bird species, may develop ruptured air sacs because of trauma. It’s common for birds to fly into objects like windows or any other hard obstacle when they are flying around outside of the cage.
A ruptured air sac can also be caused when a bird slams itself against a cage from the inside.
How to Check For a Ruptured Air Sac
While the best person to diagnose your budgie is an avian vet, you can quickly check to see if your bird has a ruptured air sac.
Lightly touch the swollen area of your budgie’s breast and listen carefully. If your bird has a ruptured air sac, you’ll hear a crackling sound when the city is gently touched.
The good news is that ruptured air sacs usually resolve on their own with no treatment unless the damaged area is unusually large. At that point, a vet’s help is necessary.
A Hematoma May Be to Blame
Hematomas are caused by trauma and don’t involve the air sacs. They are injuries that cause swelling and pools of blood under the skin.
These injuries are usually easy to spot in a human because a hematoma will cause the skin to change to a red, blue, or purple color. However, this skin color change is usually green (and not very easily seen) in birds.
If your bird is suffering from a hematoma, there’s no need to worry. Over time, the pools of blood will be reabsorbed by the body, and the swelling will go down. No long-lasting harm is done.
Why is there a Lump on My Budgie’s Chest?
Infections in birds often lead to the formation of abscesses, which usually identifies as a lump. An abscess is when pockets of white blood cells and other compounds from the blood—the abscess forms as a means to fight the infection.
An abscess usually contains:
- Dead tissue
If your bird has an abscess, it’ll be evident by a swollen reddened area that is painful to the touch. In birds, abscesses usually occur below the bird’s eye or on the feet. However, abscesses have developed on other body parts, so it can’t be ruled out except by a vet.
The danger of abscesses is that the toxins and bacteria that are housed within the abscess can escape and spread to vital organs. If this happens, the situation is very life-threatening.
How to Tell if the Swollen Chest is a Tumor
Just like in humans, tumors can develop in birds. And tumors can only be diagnosed using sophisticated medical instruments and the expertise of veterinarians.
Not every tumor is dangerous, though. Some are benign (non-cancerous), while others are malignant (cancerous). In birds, both benign and malignant tumors can be hazardous, but benign tumors are generally less severe.
- Don’t migrate to other parts of the body
- Are easy to remove
- Don’t grow back
- Grow relatively slowly
- Often migrate to other areas of the body and cause damage to organs and structures.
- May metastasize (causing the formation of new tumors)
- Are difficult to remove in some cases fully
- Grow quickly
Tumors are more common in older birds and aggressively bred bird species, though they can occur in any bird.
Lipomas are Common in Budgies
A prevalent tumor found in budgies is a lipoma. It’s a type of benign tumor that’s usually found just under the skin of the upper chest of the bird. They are generally not a problem for the bird unless they become too big.
If your budgie has a lipoma that’s gotten too large, a veterinarian could remove it or put your budgie on a special diet to help shrink the growth. In most cases, no treatment is needed.
Is Your Budgie Overweight?
Budgies can have weight issues just like us humans. Many pet birds are susceptible to weight gain because of their sedentary lifestyles in their cages.
If your bird is carrying a lot of extra weight, some of that fat can be stored in its chest. This excess weight can be dangerous for your bird because it can increase the chances of developing conditions like respiratory disorders or chronic high blood pressure. Budgies can even get diabetes.
There are several symptoms of obesity in birds that you can look for:
- A fatty chest
- Areas without feathers
- Egg binding
- Shortness of breath
- A widened stance (penguin walk)
Even though obesity is not an immediate life-threatening diagnosis for your bird, it’s still a good idea to get your bird looked at by the vet to get your bird on a healthy diet and activity plan.
Guessing is not an ideal way of determining your budgie is overweight. Especially being that there are so many other conditions that cause a swollen chest—taking your bird to be seen by a professional to rule out more life-threatening conditions that could be behind the chest growth.
How to Treat a Swollen Chest in Your Budgie
This is not an easy, at-home fix. In most cases, a swollen chest is severe, and your budgie needs to see a doctor right away. Even though birds are a common pet, not all vets are equipped to effectively treat birds.
Locate a Vet that Treats Birds
In the best-case scenario, you’d have a regular vet for your bird. This is not always the case, so if you are at a loss and need to find an avian vet for your budgie, there are some resources available.
Use a website, Bird Vets Near You To find a bird vet in your area, you can start with a little internet research.
- Type “birdvetsnearyou.com” into your internet browser.
- Enter your zip code or your city and state in the appropriate fields.
- Click “Get Local Results”
After you complete these steps, a list of veterinarians that treat birds (and their contact information and hours of operation) will be displayed on a new page. If you get no results, you may need to choose a nearby zip code.
Do a Simple Search
Doing a simple web search of “avian vets near me” will return information about vets in your area along with their contact information.
Have a Virtual Vet Visit
If you decide that you want to speak with a vet online without having to drive to the office, go to JustAnswer.com for vets. On this website, you can ask questions directly to a bird vet and get professional insight on what to do with your budgie.
But for the record, this is not always recommended. Often what your bird really needs is an in-person visit.
Now that you are aware of some possible causes of a big chest in a budgie and how to find an avian vet, you can make informed decisions about your budgie’s care. In the long run, taking action to figure out what’s wrong will save you a lot of time and worry.