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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 26886
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience
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My three year old ( three years living with us ) Parakeet

Customer Question

My three year old ( three years living with us ) Parakeet just started the end of last week not wanting to fly around. Upon a closer look it looked like the feathers along his back were fluffed up and looking underneath his feathers by his bottom it looked like he had something coming out of his rectum like bird food and the underneath of his body almost looked reddish in tint. He still was eating and drinking and climbing to his perch. The last two days he is not climbing on upper perches. Is there anything we can do?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

I'm sorry to hear of this with Talkie. It's important to note that once a parakeet acts ill they're quite ill and in need of the attention of an avian-oriented vet (please see here: This is a protective mechanism because sick birds are attacked by other birds in the wild. Talkie's symptoms of lassitude (and "something coming out of his rectum...reddish tint" which is unclear to me) and are all important symptoms but they're not pathognomonic (specifically indicative) of any one disorder.

An avian-oriented vet will first treat symptomatically and supportively by providing supplemental fluids and electrolytes by needle and tube feeding a "recovery" food. Blood tests and cultures of Talkie's choana - the slit between his oral cavity and nose - and cloaca (vent) may be taken.

Until Talkie can be attended to, please heat up his environment to 85F 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 Talkie's diet consisted of, please? You're correct to add fruit and veggies if he had been restricted to a seed-only diet. Birds eating seed only end up vitamin A, B12, D3, and K deficient as well as lacking in the mineral calcium. See if you can get Talkie interested in hard boiled egg yolk, pancakes and cornbread, the tops of fresh greens, dairy products such as yogurt and cheese, and even tiny pieces of meat. Please respond with additional information and further questions or concerns if you wish.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

Thank you in advance for more details. Please stay in this conversation and contact***@******.*** to have your new post removed so you won't be charged twice.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Im sorry I lost you. The thing coming out of his rectum is not red it actually looks like bird seed. He was on seed Katee complete nutrition blend then I would put sprigs of millets and fresh cucumbers, watermelon, strawberry's.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I think I have been charged twice because it asked me for my credit card information twice.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

I regret that I'm not allowed to communicate with customers by phone. Please stay in this conversation. If Talkie is passing whole seed, his gastrointestinal tract is hypermotile. There's likely to be a gram-negative bacterial infection present in his GI tract which will require a broad spectrum antibiotic prescribed by an avian-oriented vet. The Katee sounds good but too many birds will only pick out the seed leaving the supplements behind. The cucumber, watermelon, and strawberries, however, are wonderful. Balanced pelleted diets are ideal (see here: and here: but difficult to transition a parakeet to.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Im now looking for a Bird vet in my area I went to the link you sent will call them now. However I love LOVE LOVE all our pets but I am a single mother and money is tight the kind of treatment he should receive is it very costly?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Should I continue with trying to wash his underside?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Wow the first appointment is not until Friday. I'm so worried he will not make it or will suffer
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

I understand your financial constraints. I can't know what you would be charged. Make sure that you receive a written estimate before anything is done. Washing his tush is reasonable. Mild soap and water is safe. Avoid applying topical creams, lotions, or gels - all of which end up getting ingested and which can be toxic to Talkie. Yes, bird vets are few and far between and can get booked up quickly. Keep him heated up as I mentioned!

It looks like you posted once again in another conversation. Be sure to contact [email protected] so you won't be charged multiple times.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.
I'm just following up on our conversation about Talkie (My Daughter Named Him)=). How is everything going?
Dr. Michael Salkin

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