Jump to section

What are Burns?

Birds can experience first, second or third degree burns (depending upon the extent of the tissue damage incurred) as a result of chemicals, electricity or heat. The burn can appear reddened and may or may not ooze fluid. In other cases, the damaged tissue can look pale. 

Birds that fly can accidentally land in hot cooking oil, boiling water or a hot cooking surface. The most likely place for a bird to experience a burn is his legs and feet. Birds also experience burns on their tongue from biting an electrical cord, as well as through contact with chemicals. In rare cases a bird can consume a hot food item which can lead to a burn in his mouth, esophagus or crop.

Burns from chemicals, heat and electricity are all possible in birds and can be experienced as first, second or third degree burns depending on the level of tissue damage experienced.

Symptoms of Burns in Birds

Should your bird experience a burn, the affected area may be reddened and fluid may ooze from it. In other cases, the tissue that has been burned will appear pale. A burn can cause your bird to go into shock and quickly lose body heat. 

  • Redness of affected area
  • Paleness of affected area may result
  • Hypothermia
  • Shock

Types 

There are different types of burns that can be experienced by your bird. If your bird experiences a burn from a hot liquid, a fire or a chemical burn this will require different treatment than if your bird experiences an electrical burn. An electrical burn will be more difficult to view and can occur should your bird bite through wire. The burn may not be apparent on his beak however the damage can be found deep within his body tissues. Also, if he were to be jolted he may be thrown or fall back which can lead to additional injuries.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Causes of Burns in Birds

Your bird can be burned as a result of accidentally flying into a hot liquid or cooking surface, having contact with chemicals or as a result of contact with a live electrical wire.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Diagnosis of Burns in Birds

Upon your bird experiencing a burn, you will want to get him to the veterinarian immediately. Your veterinarian will examine your bird and determine the extent of the tissue damage he has experienced and the best course of treatment for your bird.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Treatment of Burns in Birds

If your bird experiences a burn due to a hot liquid, fire or chemical, you can start by flushing the burnt area with cool (not cold) running water for ten to fifteen minutes; doing so will stop the burning, minimize swelling and lower the skin temperature of your bird. You can then cover the burn with dressings or gauze that are cool and sterile. Particularly in cases of third degree burns, you will want to make an emergency visit to your veterinarian. 

In an electrical burn, the first thing you will want to do is be sure he is safe to touch. If he is still touching the live wire that caused the burn, you will have to move him from it using something that won’t conduct electricity (like cardboard or plastic). You could also turn off the electricity at its source. Next, check to see if he is breathing and if he has a heartbeat. CPR may be necessary and a burn can cause your bird to go into shock quickly, so you will want to do what you can to keep him warm while you get him to the veterinarian immediately. 

Upon assessing your bird’s burn or burns, your veterinarian will determine what treatment is necessary. Supportive care is usually in the form of pain medication and fluids administered intravenously or subcutaneously. Topical ointments may also be recommended for you to apply to the area that was burned. Your veterinarian will likely clean and dress the burn and show you how to care for him during his recovery.

Secondary infections may occur as a result of the burns which will require additional supportive care like antibiotics. In the case of crop burns, surgery will often be required upon the wound perforating.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Recovery of Burns in Birds

As you are rushing to get your bird to the veterinarian there are a few things to avoid doing:

  • Do not pull out his feathers or try and get debris out of his burnt skin
  • Do not use greasy products on the burn (for example butter or ointment)
  • Do not put ice on the burn
  • Do not pop blisters
  • Do not wrap the bird in any towels or blankets as these can stick to the burn

It is important to be consistent in treating your bird as recommended by your veterinarian. Follow-up appointments will likely be recommended so that your veterinarian can check on your bird’s condition and make any adjustments to his treatment that are necessary.

arrow-up-icon

Top

*Wag! may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Items are sold by the retailer, not Wag!.

Burns Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

question-icon-cta

Ask a Vet

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Sun conure

dog-age-icon

Four Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Blister

See a blister kind off underneath my birds tongue today. Since morning the bird is little inactive than usual. It flapping its right wing ever time it sees me

July 12, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Ellen M. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

1 Recommendations

Hello, thank you for your question. I am sorry to hear that your bird has an issue with its tongue. Without examining your bird, it is very hard to know for sure what might be going on. What you describe could be consistent with a wound in the mouth. It could also be something like an oral tumor or abscess (infection). I recommend that you have your bird examined by a veterinarian. It is a good idea to make sure that whatever is going on under its tongue doesn't need treatment. I hope that your bird starts feeling better soon!

July 12, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Sun conure

dog-age-icon

Four Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Blister Underneth The Tongue

Today i observed a blister kind of underneath my sun conures tongue. Since morning its not active as its used to be usually. Its eating normally. However its flapping its wings sometimes it sees me

July 12, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Sara O. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

1 Recommendations

Hello SO sorry to hear about your bird. These ulcers may be from something that he ate. Some bird food can cause issues inside their mouths. It would be best for your vet to look at your bird. Many times these get infected and your bird will need medication to help this area heal. I hope your bird gets to feeling better soon

July 12, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Teo

dog-breed-icon

sparrow

dog-age-icon

1 Month

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Breaths Faster At Rest

My bird landed in boiling water, I did not see him when it happened and therefore don’t know where he is burnt exactly, his right toe feels warmer than his left. His chest area and a bit of his neck also feels warmer...he is a wild bird...most likely a sparrow. I put him in cool-Luke warm water more than once and put a bit of oil afterwards, giving him a massage...he was scared of me touching him but after 5 min he let me touch him again (he screamed very loud which caught my attention and then I realized he landed in boiling water) ...what should I do next?

Aug. 12, 2018

Teo's Owner

answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

You should ensure that there are no injuries to the skin, but ideally you should visit a Veterinarian for a thorough examination to be on the safe side as I cannot give you any assurances without seeing Teo myself. Skin issues may be delayed in presenting and you should be mindful of that, visit a Veterinarian to be on the safe side but it may be more shock than anything else. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 12, 2018

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Piston

dog-breed-icon

Budgie

dog-age-icon

7 Weeks

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

thumbs-up-icon

2 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Burn To Leg

My bird managed to land in a hot cup of tea on Sunday and we have noticed one of his legs has a few burn spots today (4 days later) - He is putting weight on his leg and we have only seen him nibbling at the area a few times since then, there isn't any swelling or weeping and the area isn't red (a slightly darker pink). Is there anything we can do to help the healing?

Aug. 1, 2018

Piston's Owner


answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

2 Recommendations

You should keep an eye on the legs to be on the safe side and ensure that any dirt or debris is cleaned off; if there are signs of discharge or anything else concerning you should pop into your Veterinarian for an examination. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 1, 2018

My bird landed in boiling water I did not see him and therefore don’t know where he is burnt exactly, his right toe feels warmer than his left. I put him in cool-Luke warm water more than once and put a bit of oil afterwards, giving him a massage....he was scared of me touching him but after 5 min he let me touch him again (he screamed very loud which caught my attention and then I realized he landed in boiling water) ...what should I do next?

Aug. 12, 2018

Zoriana B.

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Nana

dog-breed-icon

cockatiel

dog-age-icon

6 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Damaged Feathers

my bird landed on the oven tonight. his tail was burning and he didn't noticed. I was near him and turn the fire off by water in less than 3 seconds. Although his tail feathers damaged, I checked and his skin is healthy. but what should I do? do I need to pull off the remaining part of the tail? he is at the beginning of his molt. Is it a good idea to let damaged feathers to fall down during the molt?

July 23, 2018

Nana's Owner

answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Don’t try to remove any burnt feathers, if the skin is unaffected (thankfully) you should monitor Nana for the time being and visit your Veterinarian if there are any issues with the moult. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 24, 2018

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Yoshi

dog-breed-icon

Green Cheek conure

dog-age-icon

9 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

thumbs-up-icon

1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Redness

My bird Yoshi was about to fall in into boiling water but my mom stoped him.although he did burn one side of his finger . It isn’t very bad but there is a little bit of redness almost a tiny blister.He is also making noises like he is almost in pain.

dog-name-icon

Zeus

dog-breed-icon

Green Cheek conure

dog-age-icon

1 Year

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Redness

So my bird Zeus landed on a hot curling iron today, he landed on his feet but he’s acting completely normal with them. He’s climbing around his cage and it moving around just fine. He doesn’t appear to be limping or anything. I don’t know if I should take him to the vet or not.

dog-name-icon

Colorin

dog-breed-icon

cockatiel

dog-age-icon

2 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Nothing Much

I had a candle on and my birds foot went into the liquid. his foot is red and has wax on it. Also some of his hair on his leg burned. I don't know if his leg and foot burned. I really hope not.

dog-name-icon

N/a

dog-breed-icon

Congo

dog-age-icon

2 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Crop Burn

My baby Congo who is almost 3 months old had crop burn. I am not sure when it took place but the crop area is bald with a tiny scab formed there. He is still on 3 feedings per day. He eat perfectly normal and doesn’t act like he’s in pain. I know a lot of birds need surgery to repair the crop from their injuries. Do I need to be concorn about his crop burn injury? Can I just leave it alone? Will it heal on its own? Also will the feathers grow back where the burn took place? Thanks

How can we help your pet?