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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 22469
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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my 4year old cockatiel has started to drink a lot of water

Customer Question

my 4year old cockatiel has started to drink a lot of water which in turn leaves big wet marks in her gage.thank you june hibbard -cheeky
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 3 years ago.

Hello & welcome, June. I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.


I have to say that I am quite concerned about wee Cheeky and this increased thirst and urination that you are seeing.


First, the problem I am sure you will appreciate with birds is that they do a very good job of covering up when they are unwell. This is because as a prey species attention to your illness will make you a target for predation. So, this means that owners are always at a disadvantage when it comes to catching conditions in the early stages. And this means we need be proactive and look into at this stage before it can get a point where he is visibly unwell

In regards to causes for increased urine and thirst, we do have a range of considerations for Cheeky. Specifically we can see this with changes in diet, toxin exposure (ie heavy metals) or behaviour issues (typically related to stress, abrupt change lifestyle, etc). Furthermore and potentially most likely here, we can see these as part of GI disease (ie parasites, bacterial infection), kidney or liver troubles, hormonal imbalances, urinary tract infections, and diabetes.

In regards to how to approach this situation, it would be ideal for Cheeky to have a check-up with his vet at this stage. They will be able to examine him to ensure there are no signs of intoxication or any sinister lumps or bumps. They will also be able to check a fecal smear +/- bloods can help determine if the above are playing a role. Depending on their findings, you would be in a good position to identify the cause for his signs and treat him to settle or at least manage this condition.

If this is not an option or you want to take things a bit slower, then I would suggest measuring his water intake (by measuring what you put into the dish over 24 hours & then minusing what is left. This can then be compared to the average daily water intake of ~4-6 mls per 100 grams of body weight to give you an idea of how severe his thirst is). As well, it would be a very good idea to consider collecting a urine sample and submitting it to the vet to analyze. This can be tested at the veterinary practice to tell you if there are any signs of diabetes or urine dilution that could be due to kidney issues. Furthermore, the vet can examine the sample under the microscope to let you know if bacteria, white blood cells, or microscopic amounts of blood are present in the urine. This can be quite a good non-invasive way to rule out some of these concerns for wee Cheeky and shed some light on what is amiss.

Otherwise, just to note, some signs that we need keep an eye out for that would be red flags that this is starting to make him feel unwell would be lethargy (ie ruffled feathers, weakness, excessive sleepiness), appetite decline, vomiting, diarrhoea, or a decline in feces all together.

Overall, increased urination and thirst in a bird is a red flag even if he is pretending all is well. Therefore, we do have to consider these potential health conditions and it would be ideal to either have him or a urine sample checked at this stage to allow you to pinpoint which of these issues are affecting him. The sooner you do this, the sooner you will know what is amiss, be able to take steps settle this for him, and prevent him from getting to a stage where this makes him feel unwell.

If you don't have a specialist avian vet, you can check where you can find one at near you at the RCVS register (LINK) ,, or Avian web (LINK).


I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

All the best,

Dr. B.


If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need. Thank you and hope to see you again soon! : )