Home » Polyuria in Parrots: Causes And Treatment of Excessive Urine
polyuria treatment in parrots

Polyuria in Parrots: Causes And Treatment of Excessive Urine

Last Updated on January 28, 2024 by Carrie Stephens

Parrot droppings have three components: feces, uric acid, and urine. The waste should comprise chalky, off-white urates, green-brown feces, and a small quantity of urine.

The average parrot poops 15-50 times per day (smaller species, like budgies, poop most), with urine released simultaneously. A parrot may have polyuria if it poops excessively with a watery consistency.

Polyuria is often a symptom of another health concern. This could be an easy-to-resolve problem, like excessive water intake, an inappropriate diet, or bacterial infection due to poor husbandry.

If other symptoms manifest, a parrot could have diabetes mellitus, gastrointestinal tract disease, or liver problems. Unfortunately, kidney disorders (low waste filtration) adversely affect liver function.

Chronic polyuria requires more extensive diagnostic testing and advanced veterinary treatment.

What Polyuria in Parrots Means

Polyuria is an increase in the percentage of urine in parrots’ droppings.

Some owners confuse polyuria with diarrhea because parrots release urine and feces at the same time. Polyuria is characterized by solid waste surrounded by more white, milky urine than usual.

A parrot with polyuria doesn’t always pee more often, although this is also a common warning sign. Instead, the concern is related to the quantity of urine released.

Consider the parrot’s urine content relative to its fecal output. A healthy elimination will produce a small piece of feces, some liquid, and squidgy, semi-solid urates passed through the kidneys.

If the urine is primarily liquid, a parrot likely has polyuria.

How To Treat Polyuria in Parrots

Seek veterinary assistance if a parrot has polyuria and manifests other medical symptoms. A parrot may require intravenous fluids, medical treatment, and diet and lifestyle modifications.

Here are the reasons for excessive urination:

Excessive Water Intake

Polyuria is often caused by polydipsia, an excessive intake of water.

This may be due to the parrot hydrating to excess, or it could result from consuming excessive fruit or vegetables. These foods have a higher-than-average water content.

Avian Pathology explains how polydipsia can be remedied by limiting access to water. However, it’s safer to determine if reducing the amount of water-rich food resolves the problem.

Depriving a parrot of water is inadvisable because some species won’t survive for more than 24 hours. Instead, decrease the percentage of fruits and vegetables relative to formulated pellets.

Stress

When a parrot is stressed, its internal organs will be overwhelmed and compromised.

Stress increases tension in the cloaca, the cavity from which urine and feces are released, increasing the need to urinate. Stress can also cause constipation, meaning that reactions may differ.

Common causes of stress include:

  • Lack of reliable routine.
  • Excessive time alone.
  • Boredom.
  • Unfamiliar objects.
  • Wrong temperature.
  • Excessive noise.
  • Threats and predators.
  • Lack of sleep.

Do your utmost to keep parrots calm and minimize exposure to stress triggers.

Nutritional Imbalance

Polyuria could be linked to excessive protein or calcium. Too much dietary protein, common in seed-based diets, leads to elevated uric acid levels.

Excessive calcium binds to the kidneys, eventually causing metastatic mineralization.

Hormonal Imbalance

Hormonal changes may also be linked to polyuria.

This is likeliest in female parrots at the onset of spring because longer days and shorter nights encourage breeding behavior. However, males can also experience hormonal shifts.

Signs that a parrot’s hormones are elevated include:

Avoid physical contact when a parrot wants to breed. Also, reduce the fat in a parrot’s diet and increase darkness by covering the cage (light stimulates hormones).

what causes polyuria in parrots?

Parasites

Parrots can get intestinal parasites. While roundworms and tapeworms are more commonly associated with diarrhea in birds, they can lead to polyuria.

Parasites can be a problem for captive birds, meaning that parrots should be wormed every 6 months.

Toxicity

Polyuria could be due to toxicity from ingestion or inhalation.

Clinical Insights warns how heavy metals, especially lead or zinc, are causes of avian toxicity. Beware of certain paints, metallic toys, and household decor.

Parrots can inhale toxins from cleaning products, scented candles, tobacco products, paints, essential oils, air fresheners, non-stick cookware (Tefal), and colognes (perfume and aftershave).

Toxicity can also be due to food, so keep the following away from parrots:

  • Avocado.
  • Raw beans.
  • Seeds of fruits that contain cyanide, like peaches and apricots.
  • Chocolate.
  • Alcohol.
  • Caffeine.
  • Onions and garlic.

Be mindful of foods high in sodium. While not outright toxic, excessively salty foods can cause an imbalance in electrolytes, elevating the risk of polydipsia.

A vet will use an intravenous drip to flush toxins from the body.

Illness And Disease

Polyuria can be a symptom of another medical concern, including:

Bacterial Infection

Parrots come into contact with bacteria, especially when they live with other birds. Waste and decay can contaminate their food and water bowls.

Bacteria may live harmlessly in the intestinal tract. However, bacteria can overwhelm the body if the immune system isn’t functioning well, perhaps due to stress, sickness, or elevated hormones.

This will be reflected in a parrot’s waste. Antibiotics will be required if the parrot has become lethargic, is eating less and losing weight, or is experiencing digestive distress.

The cage should be spot-cleaned daily and deep-cleaned weekly. Avoid leaving temperature-sensitive foods, like fruit and vegetables, in the cage after the bird has eaten.

Diabetes

A diabetic parrot has an unquenchable thirst, no matter how much it drinks. This manifests as polyuria.

Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology explain that birds have higher blood sugar levels than mammals. Unfortunately, this means that parrots are likelier to develop diabetes.

Diabetes is prevalent in obese parrots, so monitor the bird’s weight. Other signs include lethargy and depression, muscular weakness, and unexplained weight fluctuations.

Renal Disease

According to Veterinary Clinics: Exotic Animal Practice, polyuria is sometimes caused by renal failure. If the kidneys fail to filter urine, a thick sludge will form, adversely affecting the liver.

The treatment for polyuria is centered around the cause. Many cases can be resolved with dietary modifications, like increasing the amount of pellets relative to fruits and veg or supplements.

A parrot with a bacterial infection needs antibiotics and better cage husbandry. However, a parrot with kidney problems may require intravenous fluids, medication, hospitalization, and ongoing care.