1. What is "Scaly Face"?
"Scaly Face" is a skin condition caused by microscopic mites called Knemidokoptes pilae.
2. Which areas of the bird are affected by "Scaly Face"?
The mites live on the featherless parts of the body - usually around the cere, eyes, cloaca and legs.
In rare cases the scale can be so overwhelming as to be found on the feathered areas of the bird.
3. What causes the scaly appearance?
The mites burrow under the skin of the featherless areas of the bird. The changes caused by the burrowing lead to thickened skin and the scaly appearance. The damage to the cere or feet may be so severe that the birdís beak is deformed or the bird cannot perch properly.
4. In which bird species is "Scaly Face" commonly seen?
It is most commonly seen in budgerigars, canaries, princess parrots, currawongs and magpies. "Scaly Face" can occasionally be seen in any species of bird.
5. How are the mites identified in the live bird?
Skin scraping of the affected area will reveal the mites and their eggs at 400x magnification. Multiple skin scrapes may be needed for diagnosis.
6. What is the treatment for "Scaly Face"?
Ivermectin drops to the skin between the shoulders or moxidectin orally are the treatments of choice.
Although only 1-2 birds out of a flock may display signs of "Scaly Face", all in-contact birds need to be treated.
Paraffin topically on the scales has been used in the past but is not an effective treatment and may lead to inhalation pneumonia.
7. What other treatments may be needed to fully resolve "Scaly Face"?
Vitamin A supplementation is necessary as affected birds commonly have vitamin A deficiency as a predisposing cause of the mites.
It is important to clean and spray with miticide the perches and all wooden objects to remove any mite eggs.
Beak or nail trimming and correction may be needed if disfigurement has occurred.
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