GuideTreatment of problems with the airways
NOTE: In all my guides, I start from a situation where a rehabilitator takes his responsibility to take care of the animals in an ethically correct way. You should always try to minimize stress for the bird and since the birds, just like humans, are not the same, it can mean that you handle a problem in different ways by being creative! If I see different ways of doing the same thing, I try to write it down in my guides, but it is always up to the rehabilitator to take their own responsibility.
I do not have to write “I recommend putting the bird down” or “contact a veterinarian” or “according to law, you should …” because I start from the situation where you do the best for the bird and that you as a rehabilitator have learned to draw the line so that you do not end up in an unwanted or illegal situation. There may be an eternal battle between what you want and what is best for the bird.
There are also many factors where a similar situation can give different results. For example: access to a veterinarian, lack of time, lack of knowledge and previous experience can include cause large differences in the treatment and decision-making process and indirectly also the end result. Knowledge of basic things can make a huge difference in the stress level of the crow. For example. avoid anything that is black or checkered. They do not like it instinctively and it creates stress when they see that you are dealing with something that is black.
I put energy into my guides to make it easier for a rehabilitator to find information and to spread knowledge.
Do you see a way to improve my guides or do you see a mistake or do you want to add something, feel free to inform me!
If you are worried about doing something because it is new, ask other rehabilitators or a veterinarian for help.
The guides are continuously updated, so make sure to always download the latest version from

This guide describes what to do with birds with respiratory problems and other respiratory problems.

How do you know if a bird has a respiratory problem?

This is known with the help of clinical examination of the bird with breathing difficulties. The patient should first be examined in his cage / carton (without touching it) and then a quick assessment can be made of the severity of the respiratory disease after it has calmed down (stress can give a false indication of how bad it is). > Breathing with an open beak and cyanosis (blue tint on the skin) are signs that involve an increased risk when handling and therefore oxygen treatment and / or insertion of an air sac tube may be needed to stabilize the patient before further examination.
I know in currently not which veterinarians have the opportunity to help with this. Feel free to inform me if you know anyone who has this knowledge in southern Sweden. To put a tube in the airbag, in any case, sounds like cutting-edge expertise is needed.
The patient should be examined in a dimly lit room and caught quickly but carefully to minimize stress. Adult crows need to bring a towel. The towel is used to hold the wings and is initially placed over the entire animal while holding the neck and head. The use of thick gloves should be avoided as the risk of handling the bird too carelessly (so that it does not get air) increases. Auscultation (listening to sounds from bodily organs) with a small (pediatric) stethoscope should be used to assess the condition and degree of difficulty breathing. There should be no rattling sound.

The nostrils should be examined for signs of damage or mucus. If the patient has feathers over the nostrils, they need to be lifted with a sterile stick. Be careful not to poke your nostrils, as this could harm the bird.

Choaner / choana (see picture with blue circle) should be free and clean (no slimy substances may be there).

Even if you do not see anything in the nostrils or the choaner (what a word!), it does not mean that everything is ok. Signs that something is wrong are if the bird shakes its head quite often (a movement to get water out, much like a dog does when it shakes off the water after bathing)

A bird that shows respiratory problems has usually already been sick for a while! Other symptoms are that it can not sit on a stick without losing its balance (movement with the tail feathers shows that it adjusts quite often). Most often, the birds have lost weight because they eat too little. Some birds stop responding to sound and movement in front of them and some species puff up (this is to keep the body warm)
Unfortunately, there are a lot of other diseases that show exactly the same symptoms.
A bird that does not closes the beak usually shows signs of fear or has trouble getting air.

Miscellaneous causes:

The problem may be aspergillosis. It is a disease caused by “Aspergillus fumigatus” (a type of fungus). The disease usually first develops in the air sacs of a bird and most often the bird was already ill from something else. It may have been anything, and it may also have been unfortunate that the bird had a temporarily weakened immune system.
Aspergillus is actually found everywhere in nature. In and on the ground, on moist branches,…
The disease eventually spreads to the entire respiratory system (upper: nasal cavities, sinuses, eyes, trachea and lower: air sacs and lungs)

NOTE: All bird species can get aspergillosis. Make sure you follow standard procedures so that other birds are not at risk of becoming infected. Even if healthy birds do not get it so easily, it is not impossible. The risk of infection is low, but since you work with sick birds, it is probably best to do your best to avoid infection.
Especially indoor birds (poorer ventilation than outdoors) can get problems faster than outdoor birds.
A high dose of Aspergillus can also make healthy birds sick. Everything that affects the immune system (eg antibiotics) is a risk factor.
If you see a moldy substance in a rehabilitation cage, you should immediately remove all bottom material (newspapers, shavings, etc.) and clean AND disinfect the entire cage. Make sure you breathe properly too.

How can you be 100% sure that aspergillosis is the cause?

It is probably not the easiest thing to find out. The best way is to enter the body with an extremely small endoscope (a fiber-optic endoscope) to see visible attacks. If a veterinarian is interested in buying a fiber endoscope, information is available here:
Keep in mind that operating such a special endoscope requires a great deal of knowledge. Even a veterinarian would probably need time to learn how to handle such a device. NOTE: The endoscope can also be used for urethrocystoscopy on male dogs
Should you happen to know that a veterinarian that has a fiber endoscope, please inform me, I can put it on this website.

Since it is becoming difficult in the current situation, the second best thing you can do is to rinse out the sinus with the help of a syringe (more information below) take advantage of the mucus you get up and check under a microscope. In this way, with a few minutes of work effort, you can improve the situation for the crow. A crow bird can not “sniff” like us, so in principle you help to make the snout / slime more thin so that the bird can get it out more easily.
Try to find something similar to what is seen in the pictures below. Keep in mind that it is not blue in reality. It is a dye that is added to the preparations.
(It is of course also possible to have a veterinarian send a sample to a laboratory)
Keep in mind that you can find aspergillus without it being a problem for the bird. As I said, it is common to find it in nature and also in birds. It is the concentration that determines if it becomes problematic for the bird. I currently have no idea how much is required for the bird’s health to be clearly affected.

Important to keep in mind! Never place a bird on hay or straw mats stored outdoors or in barns. The incidence of Aspergillus spores in such hay is often high.

250x magnification with a standard microscope:

500x magnification:

Other diseases:

A bird can have a whole range of different bacteria in the airways. The cause may be the same as for Aspergillosis, namely a poor immune system due to. trauma or infection that causes the bacteria to become too numerous.

F10 SC works against:

In the list above, there are diseases that can not be cured. It is still included because the agent itself in the form of disinfectant takes care of the virus. The virus in the blood is not affected when the bird inhales the agent via the nebulizer, only the virus in the airways is affected.

The product can be used in two ways, for cleaning surfaces and for inhalation using the nebulizer.
More information here: downloads_43fc2ebb / publication.pdf


If a crow does not get enough air due to Aspergillosis being spread in the body, it does not look good. When you have a patient where there is hope, it is at least possible to test with the Nebulizer. It gives the bird immediately a little more air (it is not so in reality, but it is a feeling that the bird can experience).
If it is a serious case, it takes weeks and sometimes months until the bird is completely healthy again . However, it is not the case that the bird suffers in the meantime, because it feels better and better during the journey and crows quite often understand that it is man who helps.
A big advantage of the nebulizer + F10 SC is that it has no known major disadvantages. The only thing you can count on is that the bird does not like the device in the beginning due to the sound. But that’s really it’s all. thing I want to say is that a bird that shows that it is healthy needs a little extra time in the aviary before you can release it. Two, three weeks? The reason is that you want to make sure if it does not start spreading again.

How does the treatment work?

A Nebulizer in combination with F10 SC is an easy way to help a bird that has had respiratory problems. aspergillosis or that you can not wait, it’s good to help the crow get some more air.

More information here:

Sometimes it’s too late and the crow can not be saved. It is difficult to determine if it is too late because lack of fear is not a factor that indicates that the bird is dying. Crows are usually not so afraid of the treatment
The reason is usually that they are already a bit weakened and they realize that they are getting help.
They probably do not like the device itself and all the sound from it (and they probably do not like at all that you take them), but they notice quite quickly that it starts to help and then it becomes easier for them to breathe. They are probably wise enough to realize that they have done something that makes it easier. It is usually their instinct that scares them and their well-developed brain that calms them down afterwards. Keep in mind that this does not apply to all birds. Some birds can die of anxiety, but with crows it is usually not a problem.
A rehabilitator should develop a gut feeling for how far you can go with a bird. Each bird is an individual.
It is up to us to find solutions to make it as easy as possible for the bird. An example: If a bird likes “his cardboard” more than a metal cage that you have ready for it, then test the cardboard. Show respect for the patient as best you can.
An accident does not forget if you treat it against its will too much. If you have to do it anyway to treat, then it’s no problem, because the bird does not have to be your friend. If you are two people then it is good if the same person performs the same actions on each occasion. It reduces stress in the bird.

The device that you can buy is i.a. Omron NE-C28P Compressor or similar model.
The one I have is called Omron NE-C28P, but there is also an Omron NE-C28P-E
I suspect that it with an E stands for European power plug.

It is available on Ebay and Amazon.

Keep in mind that not all models are equally good because they are good for humans. The difference is the size of the droplets formed by the machine.
NOTE: A sprayer does NOT help. The particle size must be around 3 micrometers. Check if the device creates drops that are 3 micrometers or less.
You also need a bottle of F10 SC (NOTE: It MUST be the SC variant!).

It is a diluent that works excellently as a medicine using the Nebulizer. F10 SC is not expensive.

You take 1 drop of F10 SC per 250 drops (recommended) of sterile saline solution (salt, sterile water, you can buy it at the pharmacy).

Since it is quite complicated to measure with drops, it is probably easiest to recalculate.
1 drop / 250 drops = the same as 4 drops per 1000 drops (4 per mille).
In other words … 0.4%
Per milliliter of sterile water (5 treatments) you need 0.4% of one milliliter (0.004 ml)
Per 10 milliliters of sterile water (2 treatments) you need 4% of one milliliter (0, 04 ml)

Do not forget to mix / shake the mix just before starting the machine.
The mix is ​​enough for 5 treatments (2.5 days).
The water must be sterile because you do not want that the bird gets a new bacterium into the body.

So you use 5 ml at a time and let it work for 20-45 minutes every 8-12 hours (There is probably a minimum dose on the nebulizer’s “liquid holder” and it is about 5 ml)
It works very well with the bird, you can reduce the number of treatments to once a day.
How to do with a nebulizer?
There are two ways and it depends a bit on the bird. In both cases, you lower the light level but so that you can still see what you are doing. What you should also do (which is common) is not to talk if it is not needed. It’s best for the bird.

If the bird is scared and starts flapping (unmanageable) before you even start or you suspect that it will not work because the patient finds a way and again to avoid the treatment, you can hold the bird throughout the treatment period and hold the mouthpiece as close to the beak as possible. It’s probably easiest to be two people.
A crow can feel calmer if you do not look at it and pat it on the beak a bit with e.g. a cotton swab. (In nature, they calm each other down by touching each other’s beaks)

According to research (see links below), it is not harmful for other animals and humans to inhale the particles even though you are so close. I still think that common sense plays a role here. Make sure there is plenty of air exchange in the room and that you are not negligent.

If the bird is calm when you let it into a cage, then make a “nebulizer cage” from an existing transport cage for cats.
It is probably best to do it while the bird is somewhere else, because it is stressful for it when putting plastic around the cage if it is in it. It is really recommended that you keep the bird under surveillance throughout the treatment, so that you can intervene if something should happen. Therefore, it is not advisable to do the treatment in a box.
Put plastic (loose) around the rehabilitation cage / transport cage and insert the hose into the cage through a hole. Since the particles fall down, it is best to put the hose on a level just above the bird’s head height (but I see so many pictures online where they have not done so.?)
The plastic should not be tense because some fresh air must be able to enter via gaps.

NOTE: Crows hate black garbage bags. Do not use black plastic. It creates anxiety.
Then it is probably easiest to take transparent plastic foil from the kitchen or semi-transparent construction plastic.
Just like with humans, the bird notices quite quickly that this facilitates and it is not uncommon for a bird to eventually approach the hose because it understands that it helps.
More information here:

F10SC is not dangerous to humans. So if you breathe in the air because you are in the same room, it should not lead to any negative consequences. More information:

If it is an emergency, it is really best to take it with a veterinarian, who has the option of giving medicine intravenously (in the vein) or SC (subcutaneously, under the skin).
Should a veterinarian wish to help, here is information on which medicines you can use:

Acute case:
One thing you can do with an emergency in addition to the nebulizer is to also clear the sinuses:

You create a mix of F10 SC and sterile saline solution (1: 250). You need & nbsp; 1ml mix per & nbsp; 50 grams of bird. 500 grams, so it means that you need 10 ml mix (0.04 ml F10 SC) 1 drop = 0.05 ml, so actually 1 drop is already too much.

You fill a 10 ml syringe ( without a needle) and put a towel around the bird. Be careful how tight the towel is. We are dealing with a bird that already has problems with the airways and breathing.
Place the bird on its back over a sink with its head slightly down. Hold the syringe against the nostril, (do not put it in the nostril even if it would fit because you will hurt the bird). The mix then ends up in the nasal cavity and sinuses and then comes out again via nostrils, “choans” and possibly the tear ducts in the eyes.

A film that shows how a veterinarian does it:

Will the bird get well again now?

It’s unfortunately not a certainty. What you can do to increase the chance is to keep the bird warm (almost always important) and force-feed if the bird does not want to eat. If a bird has deposits in its nostrils, a knowledgeable veterinarian can remove them. If I hear about a method / means to do it responsibly myself, then this information will end up on this page.

Always try to find the underlying problem in a bird, as it increases the chance enormously that it will get well again if you can eliminate the problem!

Sources: -know / birds / general / sneezing-and-nasal-discharge-in-birds / in-birds