Jul 9, 2017
I recently had a sick emu, Kali, but through intervention his symptoms have cleared and he's happy again. I decided to share the details for posterity, in case anyone else has a sick emu with similar symptoms and needed a point of reference.

  • He's always been a very small/skinny bird, aged 1 year
  • Somewhat wheezy breath, and would cough sometimes like something was caught in his throat
  • Would shake his head and produce phlegm/mucous
  • Foul-smelling breath, like rotten eggs
  • Unusual behavior: was not energetic or curious as usual- kept himself isolated and away from the other emus. He was still drinking, but I didn't see him eat.
  • His droppings were highly irregular, a dark vibrant green whose solids and whites were separated

Kali had not been treated for worms before, so I was concerned parasites were the root of the problem. We treated Kali with injectable Ivomec (for swine and cattle) and Dura-Pen antibiotics. Fearing he might have an impaction (from the smelly breath) we also gave him mineral oil over three days to help pass any blocked material. I'm not sure if it helped any, but I also massaged Kali's throat area and "crop" to help ease anything that might be caught there.

After two days, Kali coughed up something very unusual. He shook his head and spat out a bloody strand of what appeared like flesh, about 6 inches long and coated in blood. I didn't have the stomach to dissect it or anything, but it looked suspiciously like a bit of organ. We crossed our fingers and hoped that it was a worm, but it was pretty big to be something like that.

Despite the scary thing he threw up, Kali is now doing much better a week later. He no longer has smelly breath, his poop is completely normal, and he's back to his energetic antics! If anything, I hope this anecdote serves as an important reminder to try to keep emus parasite-free. If left alone, Kali's symptoms could've gotten much worse and I'm glad we intervened when we did.

Feel free to share your experiences or troubles raising emus! We need to make information more readily available: it was hard to track down specific references involving emu impaction and respiratory issues.

Red Oak descriptions of parasites that affect emus
Medical Care of Emus
Sybil's Den Emu Care Sheet
Last edited:


In the Brooder
Apr 3, 2018
Thank you for posting your story, I wasn't able to find pen antibiotics but I am worming today and continuing to push the electrolytes, wish me luck my emu sounds like yours..

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom