Canker (Trichomoniasis) in Budgerigars

Canker, also known as Trichomoniasis, is a common disease that affects budgerigars and other birds. The disease is caused by a protozoan parasite, which burrows into the lining of the upper digestive tract, including the oesophagus and crop, causing ulcerating sores. In this article, we will explore the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of canker in budgerigars.

Symptoms in Budgerigars

Canker can affect birds of all ages, but it is particularly common in young birds. Symptoms of canker in budgerigars can vary widely and may include:

  • Huddling
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Crop abnormalities
  • Poor appetite
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Regurgitation
  • Respiratory distress

In severe cases, it can be fatal, particularly in young birds.

Diagnosis in Budgerigars

Diagnosis in budgies can be challenging, as symptoms can be similar to other avian diseases. However, an experienced avian veterinarian can usually diagnose canker by performing a thorough physical exam and taking a sample of the bird’s crop or oesophagus for laboratory analysis.

Treatment in Budgies

The most effective treatment for canker in budgerigars is Emtryl soluble powder, a medication that kills the protozoan parasite causing the disease. However, it is important to use this medication with caution, as it can be toxic in large doses. It is also important to treat all birds in the aviary, even those that do not show symptoms of the disease, to prevent reinfection.

Prevention in Budgerigars

Preventing canker in budgerigars is best achieved through good hygiene practices. Accordingly, aviaries should be cleaned regularly, and food and water containers should be cleaned and disinfected daily. Birds should also be fed a nutritious diet to help boost their immune systems and protect against disease.


In conclusion, canker is a common disease that affects budgerigars and other avian species. Given these points, if you suspect that your budgie may have canker, it is important to seek the advice of an experienced avian veterinarian. Early diagnosis and treatment can greatly improve the chances of a full recovery.

Hand Reared Budgies, Canker