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Dr. Pat
Dr. Pat, Bird Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 3596
Experience:  25+ years working primarily or exclusively with birds
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HellovDr Pat I have a rainbow lorikeet and he scratches himself

Customer Question

HellovDr Pat I have a rainbow lorikeet and he scratches himself a lot. Was wondering if he could have mites & if so how to treat this?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Pat replied 1 year ago.
Greetings, I am Dr. Pat. I have worked with birds for many years. I will do my best to help you.
If he indoor or outdoor bird?
Have you checked him closely for parasites? They can have lice, typically the wing- or leg pit the easiest place to see them.
The commonest mites feed on the bird at night and disperse into the environment during the day. You can check for them by throwing a white sheet over the cage and checking it first thing in the morning for tiny crawling black speck.
Can you tell me more about the bird?​
How long has this been going on?
How long have you had him?
Where is he from?
Any accidents or trauma?
Interactions with other birds/pets/children/guests?
What is the usual diet? has it changed recently?
Has the bird gotten into anything?
What kind of caging, material on the cage bottom?
Photoperiod?
Feather issues can be caused by a multitude of things, including bacterial skin infection, viruses, fungal infections, allergies, metal poisoning, hormonal flux, psychological or combination of these factors. The difficulty is diagnosing the problems and assigning an intelligent treatment plan. Your vet will want to run a number of tests so that appropriate medications can be prescribed. Inflammatory skin/follicle disease is common. The causes can include local infection, metabolic problems, or even intestinal parasites. It can also be a prime area for even more serious problems like skin cancer. An avian-experienced vet should take a look at the poor bird, and run some tests.
If this were my patient, and money no object, I would start with complete fecal analysis and direct smear, stained with Sedi-stain and unstained for multiple parasites, fungi, spirals; direct smear stained with Sedi-stain and unstained of the oral cavity and feather pulp; bacterial culture and sensitivity of the feather pulp, feces and choana. Depending on the case I might do a fungal culture. Routine blood work is necessary to rule out other issues. There are MANY DNA/RNA tests for bird diseases--and testing for Borna Virus would be a good idea. Ultrasound is often more informative than radiographs and does not require anesthesia (ask your vet about this option). Generally I start them out on medications as indicated by the tests.Generally I start them out on injectable antibiotics and an anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen.

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