bumblefoot cockatiel

Bumblefoot cockatiel, also known as pododermatitis, is a condition that can affect various birds, including cockatiels. It’s a bacterial infection and inflammation of the foot, often caused by Staphylococcus bacteria. Bumblefoot is characterized by the formation of hard, painful abscesses or sores on the bird’s feet, making it difficult for them to perch, walk, or even stand.

So we will explain the causes of this disease in this article. Although most cases involve the plantar region of the foot, some cases may begin by affecting only one digit, or the lesion may be located on the underside of the hock region, especially in larger psittacines such as Amazons or macaws.

Here are some key points to know about bumblefoot in cockatiels:

what causes bumblefoot in birds

Causes Bumblefoot can result from several factors, including poor cage conditions, unsanitary perches, obesity, lack of exercise, and genetic predisposition. Cockatiels are susceptible to this condition because they frequently use their feet for grasping perches and climbing.Spoiled food or feces caked to the perches can form a source of infection as bacteria multiply; standing on this source of concentrated contamination can result in infection of even a mild foot abrasion.

Harsh cleaning solutions that are not adequately rinsed can cause an initial irritation that can progress. Trauma to the foot from an injury that becomes secondarily infected can also be a cause. Commonly isolated bacteria include Staphylococcus sp., Streptococcus sp., Pseudomonas sp. and rarely, Candida sp. fungus or Mycobacteria sp. bacteria.
Other conditions may be confused with mild bumblefoot cases. These can include urate tophi of articular gout, small localized abscesses, poxvirus lesions, fungal lesions, parasites such as Knemidokoptes or filarial nematodes, insect bites, callus formation due to old fractures, frostbite, burns, trauma, or papillomas or other benign or malignant.


Common symptoms of bumblefoot in cockatiels include swelling and redness of the feet, sores or scabs on the bottoms of the feet, lameness, and reluctance to perch or walk. In severe cases, the infection can spread to other parts of the body, including the joints and bones.

bumblefoot antibiotics

Treatment If you suspect your cockatiel has bumblefoot, it is crucial to seek veterinary care promptly. A veterinarian will diagnose the condition and may prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection. In severe cases, surgical intervention may be necessary to remove abscesses. Improving cage conditions, providing clean perches, and encouraging exercise can also aid in recovery.

Most important in understanding the treatment of bumblefoot is to appreciate that even the mildest case should be treated promptly to avoid progression of the lesion, and that the more severe cases may require months of intense therapy in order to heal.

pododermatites blog stage
Grade 1 Bumblefoot Lesion – This stage is difficult to detect, but must be corrected immediately to prevent further stage developments. Apply Vitamin E ointment to affected area. Supply rope perches and avoid excessive use of rough grooming perches.
Grade 1 lesions can often be corrected by simple sound management practices. Proper nutrition should be considered first, not just by investigating the diet provided, but by ensuring that the bird is actually eating the full diet, and not just picking out its favorite foods.

Make sure that the diet contains sufficient levels of vitamin A, biotin. calcium and vitamin D3, but be careful not to over-supplement. Make sure that the fat content of the diet is not too high; Amazons, Rose-breasted cockatoos, budgerigars and cockatiels are especially prone to obesity.

Additional foods high in carotenoids such as orange or yellow coloured vegetables, and foods high in vitamin C and vitamin E may be beneficial. If in doubt, consult with your avian veterinarian regarding the best diet for your bird. Environmental causes should be investigated next. Are the diameters of the perches the correct size for the species? Too wide a perch diameter stretches the foot out too much; too narrow puts too much pressure on the wrong part of the foot.

bumblefoot cockatiel

Prevention To prevent bumblefoot in cockatiels, it’s essential to maintain a clean and hygienic living environment. Ensure that perches are made of appropriate materials (not abrasive or too hard), and regularly clean and disinfect the cage. Provide a balanced diet to prevent obesity, as overweight birds are more prone to developing bumblefoot.

Regular Monitoring Keep a close eye on your cockatiel’s feet and overall health. Regularly inspect their feet for any signs of swelling, redness, or sores. Promptly address any issues to prevent them from progressing into a more severe condition.

Remember that bumblefoot can be a painful and potentially life-threatening condition for cockatiels if left untreated. Always consult with a qualified avian veterinarian if you suspect your bird may have bumblefoot or any other health concerns. Early intervention and proper care are essential for a successful recovery. Certainly, here’s some additional information on bumblefoot in cockatiels:

Diet and Exercise:* Proper nutrition and exercise are essential for preventing and managing bumblefoot. Provide your cockatiel with a balanced diet that includes a variety of fresh vegetables, fruits, pellets, and seeds in moderation. Avoid an all-seed diet, as it can contribute to obesity. Encourage physical activity by providing toys and opportunities for your cockatiel to fly and explore outside of the cage in a safe environment.

Cage Considerations: Cockatiel cages should be spacious, clean, and equipped with appropriate perches. Use natural wood or softer materials for perches, and ensure they are of varying diameters to promote healthy foot and leg muscle development. Avoid using rough or abrasive surfaces that can contribute to foot problems.

Hygiene: Keep the cage and surrounding areas clean. Regularly clean and disinfect perches, food and water dishes, and the cage bottom. This helps reduce the risk of bacterial contamination that can lead to bumblefoot.

Consulting a Veterinarian: If you suspect bumblefoot or any other health issue in your cockatiel, consult a veterinarian experienced in avian medicine. They can perform a thorough examination, diagnose the condition, and recommend an appropriate treatment plan.

Recovery and Follow-Up: The recovery period for bumblefoot can vary depending on the severity of the condition. During recovery, it’s important to follow your veterinarian’s instructions closely. Administer any prescribed medications as directed and provide a comfortable, stress-free environment for your cockatiel. Regular follow-up visits with your vet may be necessary to monitor progress.

In summary, bumblefoot is a potentially serious condition that can affect cockatiels and other birds. It’s crucial to take preventive measures by maintaining a clean and suitable living environment, providing a balanced diet, and encouraging exercise. If your cockatiel does develop bumblefoot, early detection and prompt veterinary care are essential for a successful recovery. Always consult with a qualified avian veterinarian for the best guidance and treatment options for your bird’s specific situation.

cockatiel feet