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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 24454
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience
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Parakeet is lethargic, panting (tail bobbing) when

Customer Question

parakeet is lethargic, panting (tail bobbing) when breathing, eyes closed...no discharge
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 9 months ago.

I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner. 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: www.aav.org). This is a protective mechanism because sick birds are attacked by other birds in the wild. Louie's symptoms of dyspnea (difficult breathing) and lethargy indicate severe respiratory compromise and a critically ill bird.
An avian-oriented vet might first treat symptomatically and supportively by providing supplemental fluids and electrolytes by needle and tube feeding a "recovery" food. A broad spectrum antibiotic is likely to be injected into Louie and an antibiotic to be given orally prescribed. Blood tests and cultures of Louie's choana - the slit between his oral cavity and nose - and cloaca (vent) may be taken. Whole body X-rays can be quite helpful.
Until Louie 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. If he appears weakened 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 Louie's diet consisted of, please? Seeds should compose less than 20% of his 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.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 9 months ago.
Hi James,
I'm just following up on our conversation about Louie. How is everything going?
Dr. Michael Salkin

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