You may wonder why on earth a dog would want to eat something gross, like a dead bird. Our canine companions are not usually very discerning in their tastes. It could be your fur baby wanted a treat or just wanted to see what it tasted like. Yuck!
Whatever makes your dog eat a dead bird, there are some possible health consequences you should be aware of.
My Dog Ate a Dead Bird – Is There Anything to Worry About?
The short answer is possibly. One of the most common problems dogs may develop after eating a dead bird is the development of gastroenteritis. This condition is also known as “garbage gut,” and can cause diarrhea and vomiting.
Another possible health issue to consider is that some birds carry diseases. One of the most common is caused by the Salmonella bacteria. The bacteria can be carried in the bird’s gut, and your dog could become infected after eating the dead bird.
Though rare in dogs, some birds carry the West Nile virus. There’s a low risk your pup could develop this infection if the bird he ate had this disease. But dogs have been known to become infected with the virus after eating birds.
One more issue to watch for is an intestinal blockage. This is also rare, but the bird could become lodged in your canine companion’s intestines, creating a blockage. This is an emergency and you must call the vet immediately.
Signs & Symptoms to Watch For
We already covered the symptoms of gastroenteritis. Here’s a quick list of signs and symptoms the dead bird has caused your dog to become ill:
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Diarrhea (possibly contains mucus)
West Nile Virus
- Depression and uncoordinated
- Muscle weakness
- Body spasms
- Loss of appetite
- Severe brain inflammation
- Excessive coughing
- Abdominal pain
- Lack of appetite
- Unable to have a bowel movement
Diagnosis and Treatment
If your fur baby exhibits any of these symptoms after eating a dead bird, then be sure to call the vet right away. Or if your dog has just eaten a dead bird and you’re worried about it, then the vet can give you the information you need. After a diagnosis, the treatment will depend on what your pup has.
At the vet’s, they will do a physical exam and may also run x-rays if an intestinal blockage is suspected. The vet may also do blood work to check for any issues.
If the vet diagnoses your fur baby with gastroenteritis or Salmonella, they may prescribe a round of antibiotics. In some cases, your canine companion may also require hospitalization if the diarrhea and vomiting are severe.
For West Nile virus, there’s no cure. However, there are some medications that help relieve the symptoms of this infection.
There’s a good chance your dog will be just fine, but do watch for any symptoms that could indicate he’s picked up a nasty bug from eating the dead bird.