Though it may seem strange, regurgitation to a mate, person or toy is a normal part of bird reproductive and bonding behavior.

colorful birdRegurgitation is the expulsion of the contents of the crop, a specialized part the esophagus. Regurgitation is usually a normal behavior. A bird that is regurgitating will make a head-bobbing and neck-stretching type of movement. Food will be brought up and deposited on the bird's toys or mate. Such controlled regurgitation usually does not result in staining of the feathers or the beak.

Vomiting, on the other hand, is the expulsion of the contents of the proventriculus, ventriculus (specialized parts of the stomach in birds), or intestine. Unfortunately, it is often difficult to differentiate between regurgitation and vomiting.

Vomiting usually includes a rapid flick of the head, which happens so fast it is often not seen by the owners. Tell-tale signs of vomiting in birds is the flicking of small pieces of ingested food around the cage. A very common complaint is that the feathers on the head are messy and stuck together. Food may become caked on the bird's head giving it a spiky, matted appearance.

Vomiting can occur along with regurgitation and is a serious clinical sign. If you suspect that this behavior is the result of illness and not behavioral causes, a veterinarian should examine your bird.

Encephalitzoon cuniculi is a parasite most often associated with neurologic disease in pet rabbits. It can also have other manifestations including renal and ocular.

Black rabbitWhat are the signs?

The most common signs we see with affected rabbits include head tilt, rolling, and trouble walking (ataxia). The less common manifestations of the disease include a renal form of the disease where your rabbit may have an increase in thirst and/or incontinence, and an ocular form that is most commonly associated with cataracts.

How can my pet get it?

Most rabbits are infected from the urine of infected rabbits. This transmission can occur within six weeks of birth. It is also possible for an infected mother to infect her kits in utero. 

It is important to know that E cuniculi is a zoonotic disease, meaning humans can be infected with this parasite. The people most commonly affected are immunocompromised. Be sure to wash your hands and clean around your rabbit well.

KittenAs Veterinarians, we are more commonly presented with the cutest little kittens afflicted by diarrhea, though constipation can also be a significant problem. Most cat owners are more aware of when their young cat is having bouts of diarrhea because of the mess and smell. Constipation and severe constipation (obstipation) is not usually as obvious, but can be equally as problematic for kittens.

Because cats vary in when they go to the bathroom, determining if a cat is actually constipated can be challenging. Ideally most cats should go once per day, and though the color may vary with the diet, the consistency should be firm but soft.

Monitoring your kitten's bathroom activities, though perhaps the least enjoyable part of caring for your cat, is important to ensure that they are using the litter box regularly. Obstipation/constipation can lead to serious problems such as illness due to absorbing toxins from the colon, and even rectal prolapse.

What are the Causes?

Constipation may have many causes. As kittens transition from nursing to eating kitten food, they may become dehydrated or not have enough fiber in the diet. As young cats further develop, lack of exercise and gaining too much weight may be a contributing factor. Young cats also like chewing on everything and anything, which can contribute to constipation and may even progress to a blockage. So monitoring your kitten's behavior closely to make sure that he or she does not ingest foreign substances is also very important. There are several medical conditions including parasites that can play a role in the kitten becoming constipated.

What are the Signs?