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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 24382
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience
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My 4 month old budgie seems to have lost balance. when he walks

Customer Question

my 4 month old budgie seems to have lost balance. when he walks a couple of steps he roles on his back?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Expert:  Michelle-mod replied 1 year ago.
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Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.
I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner. It's important to note that once a budgie acts ill they're often critically ill and in need of the attention of an avian-oriented vet (please see here: www.aav.org). This is a protective mechanism because ill birds are attacked by other birds in the wild.Terry's symptoms of ataxia ("drunken sailor") is an important symptoms but it's not pathognomonic (specifically indicative) of any one disorder. Nutritional imbalance, overall weakness due to a systemic infection or disorder, and head trauma resulting in damage to areas controlling his vestibular (balance) system such as his internal ear, cerebellum and brainstem are all considered.
An avian-oriented vet might first treat symptomatically and supportively by providing supplemental fluids and electrolytes by needle and tube feeding a "recovery" food. Blood tests and a bacterial culture of Terry's cloaca (vent) might be performed.
Until Terry can be attended to, please heat up his environment to 90F by means of a 100W bulb shined into his partially covered cage (not at night when he needs to rest) or by taping a heating pad set on its lowest setting to the sides of his cage. Remove his perches and put his food and water on the bottom of the cage along with him. Add a water soluble avian vitamin such as Oasis brand to his water at half of the recommended dose so as not to make his water distasteful. Add a calcium supplement such as Calcivet or Calciboost to his water. These supplements are available in pet/feed stores. Avoid over the counter antibiotics designed to be placed in his water. They won't be effective if only because an ill bird won't drink enough to medicate itself properly.
Nutritional imbalances are a common cause of illness in our pet birds. What has Terry's diet consisted of, please?

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