The Air Sac is the air-filled cavity in a bird, formed as an extension of the respiratory system and growing into the bones.

Birds can be infected by the Air Sac Mites (Sternastoma Tracheacolum) and appear perfectly healthy. The symptoms depend on the volume of mites and amount of inflammation, in the air sacs, lungs, bronchus and trachea.
The method of transmission is believed to occur through direct contact via the oral route from one bird to another. The transmission often occurs when infested adult birds feed regurgitated food to young nestlings. It is also believed to occur through contaminated drinking water.

A sign of air sac mites is open mouth breathing, increased respiratory effort, which has a characteristic clicking sound. Other signs include coughing, nasal discharge, tail bobbing, weakness and weight loss.

Left untreated the bird will eventually die from respiratory infection.

The most successful treatment is by using SCATT manufactured by Vetafarm (Not Available in Australia - Vetafarm may be able to supply an air-sac mite treatment under prescription after a veterinary consultation).
The best method for treatment other than SCATT, is to use Ivermectin, which can be administered using a crop needle by a Vet or can be done by yourself if you have used a crop needle.
You will still need to obtain your Ivermectin from a Vet as the Vet mixes the required strength, and will advise how much to use. Ivermectin is designed for use on sheep and cattle and should not be diluted with water. Treatment should be once per week until eradication (usually 3 weeks). Note that too much Ivermectin will kill your bird.

As far as it is known, the complete life cycle of the Air Sac Mite is approximately fourteen to twenty one days.

SCATT - Moxidectin 1000g/mL
Manufactured by Vetafarm
Air Sac Mite: (mainly Canaries & Finches) Apply in a single application 1 to 2 drops depending on the size of the bird (1 drop per 30g body weight), to the bare skin between the shoulders.
For best results ensure re-treatment is carried out 3 to 4 times per year.

Lady Gouldian -,

Published 28/02/05