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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 24441
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience
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Bird shivering. Feathers ruffled. Not eating.

Customer Question

Bird shivering. Feathers ruffled. Not eating.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner. We don't have many avian-oriented vets on this site. It's important to note that once a parrotlet acts ill they're quite ill and in need of the attention of an avian-oriented vet (please see here: www.aav.org). This is a protective mechanism because sick birds are attacked by other birds in the wild. Puddin''s symptoms of shivering, fluffing and anorexia are 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 Puddin''s choana - the slit between her oral cavity and nose - and cloaca (vent) may be taken.

Until Puddin' can be attended to, please heat up her environment to 85F by means of a 100W bulb shined into her partially covered cage (not at night when she needs to rest) or by taping a heating pad set on its lowest setting to the sides of her cage. Remove her perches and put her food and water on the bottom of the cage along with her. Add a water soluble avian vitamin such as Oasis brand to her water at half of the recommended dose so as not to make her water distasteful. Add a calcium supplement such as Calcivet or Calciboost to her water. These supplements are available in pet/feed stores. Avoid over the counter antibiotics designed to be placed in her 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 Puddin''s diet consisted of, please? Seeds should compose less than 20% of her diet. Ideally, a balanced pelleted diet such as can be found here: www.harrisonsbirdfoods.com or here: www.lafeber.com/pet-birds should be fed as well as hard boiled egg yolk, pancakes and cornbread, the tops of fresh greens, dairy products such as yogurt and cheese, fresh fruits such as apples, pears, melon, kiwi, and berries, vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, beets, asparagus, cabbage, sweet potato, and squash, and even tiny pieces of meat.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your answer. Yesterday afternoon we took her to the University of Pennsylvania's Veterinary Emergency. She made it through the night (on oxygen) and she is being seen by their exotic expert this morning. Regarding diet, she eats Cockatiel seed. I have tried feeding her other things, but she never touches anything but the seed. If she makes it, I will try again to add the recommended foods to her diet.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

You're quite welcome. I'm pleased to hear that she was well-attended to. Yes, her diet is problematic and likely to be contributory to her malaise. I can't set a follow-up in this venue and so would appreciate your returning to our conversation with an update - even after rating - at a time of your choosing.

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