Deadly finch parasite studied at AVC
A parasite is killing gold and purple finches in the Maritimes.
Trichomoniasis was only recently recognized in finches in the region. The parasite attacks the mouths of the birds, causing canker sores that make eating and drinking impossible.
Whitney Kelly-Clark, a Masters student at the Atlantic Veterinary College in Charlottetown, is studying the parasite. She's looking for help identifying cases of the disease. Kelly-Clark said infected birds can be identified by their appearance.
"They're really, really emaciated, very skinny. Their plumage is really ruffled up," she said.
Spotted a sick bird?
Contact the Canadian Co-operative Wildlife Health Centre: (902) 628-4314.
"What we actually see, and what is a tell-tale sign of the disease, is that they have a lot of bird feed and debris and sticks all kind of stuck around their beak and it's because these cankers make them regurgitate bird seed and it makes them drool a lot."
Humans and other mammals are immune to the disease, but farm birds such as turkeys and chickens can get infected, as can birds of prey.