Liver Disease In Birds | Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

All birds are most active when they are free from any kind of disease or infection. Disease-free birds are vibrant and remain active throughout the day.

A large number of disorders and diseases are observed in birds in farms and cages.

In wild birds, the disease is one of the major causes of death. On my farms, I have observed a large number of disorders faced by birds due to liver problems.

The liver of birds can get infected very easily and causes a lot of trouble to them. It is extremely important to take care of your birds in case of liver disease.

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Liver Disease in Birds

Liver diseases are very common in birds. Your birds can go through severe problems while suffering from a diseased liver. It is one of the most important organs in a bird’s body.

Digestion in birds is aided with the help of the liver. The liver of birds and other animals has the capacity to regenerate itself. It is the only organ that can mimic its tissue and regenerate itself without any external aid.

In some cases, the internal healing collapses and the liver starts degenerating. One of the reasons for this is liver diseases in birds. Liver diseases in birds are one of the most dreaded illnesses.

In severe cases, there are very few or zero chances of curability in case of liver diseases. Your bird will eventually die if the disease has reached its final stages.

Liver diseases are very troublesome for birds. Your birds can go through a lot of pain and problems including itching, indigestion, discomfort, and a lot more while suffering from liver disease.

How can you know if your birds have liver disease?

  • The liver plays an important role in the digestion of food for birds. In case of liver infection or disease, birds will not feel the urge to eat. Their appetite slows down and they stop eating and this further deteriorates their condition.
  • The liver issue causes a lot of pain and this may result in inactivity and laziness. Birds will sit down at a single spot and will resist moving in case of liver disease.
  • The liver infection leads to a decline in metabolism and severe weight loss. If you notice a sharp decline in the weight of your birds goes for a checkup with a vet. In 80% of the cases of liver infection, birds experience a reduction in fat and muscles leading to significant weight loss.
  • Excessive fatigue and restlessness are observed in many cases of liver infection and inefficiency.
  • Indigestion and diarrhea are major symptoms of liver disease. If you notice these in your birds it is important to call out a vet for inspection.
  • The urates of birds may change to a greenish color in case of liver disease. In some cases, a yellowish color can be observed in the urates.
  • In cases of liver disease birds can show symptoms of excessive drinking as they feel extremely thirsty and their mouth dries very quickly. As a result of excessive drinking, birds can urinate in excess. 

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Different Types of Liver Diseases in Birds

Birds generally experience three major kinds of liver diseases. These three conditions of the liver are observed individually in birds or in some cases they can occur all together in a bird.

Hepatic function

The diseases related to the hepatic function of the lever are the ones that can damage the functioning of the liver in birds. 

The secretion of liver enzymes, proteins, and other compounds may get disturbed resulting in an abnormal function of the liver. 

In some cases, some parts of the liver may get damaged due to a hepatic illness. These hepatic diseases are tested with the help of liver function tests.


Cholestasis is a liver condition in birds. In birds having cholestasis, it is observed that the production or excretion of bile reduces or stops. It is a severe condition and causes a lot of problems for birds.

Bile is essential for the digestion of several components of bird food. In the case of cholestasis, the birds can suffer a lot and you may need to consult a vet in case of an emergency.


The hepatocellular liver is a condition in which the liver of the bird gets infected with liver cancer of the cells. It is called hepatocellular carcinoma.

What are some reasons for Liver Diseases in Birds?

Toxins in the food and water of the birds are one of the major reasons for causing them liver diseases. 

The toxic elements in the food or drinking water cause infection in the liver and lead to severe diseases of the liver in birds.

Parasites and fungi in the surrounding birds or several other infectious agents can cause liver disease in birds. It is required to maintain a hygienic environment around the bird to prevent such infections.

Some congenital abilities or trauma might also lead to disorders and disease in the liver of the bird. 

Trauma can interfere with the secretion of bile and hence causing severe issues in the proper functioning of the bird’s liver.

There are several other reasons that can cause liver disease in birds. It is important to take your birds for a regular checkup to detect diseases in the early stages. 

In case of any signs shown by birds, you must show your bird to a vet.

What are the methods/ways of Diagnosis of Liver Disease in Birds?

Various tests and methods are used to diagnose liver issues. One way to check for abnormalities in liver function is a bile acid test. 

Bile acid test is useful in understanding the performance of the bird’s liver.

A decrease in liver function leads to an increase in the levels of bile acid in the liver. This is a good indication of liver diseases in the liver. 

The vet can also diagnose decreased or disturbed liver function by examining the proteins of the liver.

Special proteins called albumin are important indicators of liver function. Lower albumin than the average count denotes a weak or dysfunctional liver.

The vet can also perform tests like CBC to get statistics of all components of the blood. This helps the vet to get a glimpse of all component counts in the blood that is related to the liver. 

In case of any deviation from the average count further diagnosis can be performed.

In many cases, a vet can go for a diagnostic image test. In this case, going for an ultrasound or X-ray can help the vet to identify the condition of the liver. 

This helps you to get an image of the liver and any deformity can be identified with the help of these methods.

How To Treat Liver Disease in Birds

Liver diseases in birds are treated by boosting the liver and enhancing its health. The liver is the only organ in the body that has the capacity for regeneration.

There is no specific way to treat liver diseases. The vet applies different methods to heal the tissues of the liver. Reduction of fibrosis is one of the most essential steps to treat liver diseases in birds.

Fibrosis stabilization is done by balancing the hepatocyte cell membrane of the liver.

A large number of drugs are available that aid in the healing of liver tissues and cells. A vet can also administer a dose of multivitamins and minerals to heal the liver cells.

Summing it up!

Birds munch on literally anything that finds chewable in their surroundings. The liver of birds is one of the most important organs that helps them to digest a large number of things they eat. 

A functional liver is essential for birds to fly around and stay active in the wild or in domestic farms as well.

 Liver diseases can cause a lot of trouble for young and adult birds. It is important to look out after your birds so that you can catch any discomfort or diseases in your birds. 

In case of any discomfort or disease take your bird to a vet for examination.