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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 24453
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience
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My canary has been on the floor of s cage this last week and

Customer Question

My canary has been on the floor of his cage this last week and his eyes are almost shut. Also their seems to be a greyish dust on his neck feathers. How might I care for him?
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. What is the bird's name and age?
Customer: Mozart, 5 years
JA: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Mozart?
Customer: He is alone. He has had some recent curling of wing feathers.
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Veterinarian about your situation and then connect you two.
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 5 months ago.

It's important to note that once a canary acts ill it's already 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. Mozart's symptom of weakness (avoiding his perches preferring the bottom of his cage) is an important symptoms but it's not pathognomonic (specifically indicative) of any one particular disorder. The grey dust is dander and it and curling of feathers may indicate an abnormal molt; feathers are being retained too long.

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 cultures of Mozart's choana - the slit between his oral cavity and nose - and cloaca (vent) may be taken. Whole body X-rays can be quite helpful as well.

Until he 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. He appears weakened and soremove 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 Mozart's diet consisted of, please? Seeds should compose less than 20% of his diet. A diet of mainly seed and nuts has excessive fat, carbohydrates, and phosphorus; marginal protein; adequate vitamin E, and are deficient in amino acids, calcium, available phosphorus, sodium, manganese, zinc, iron, vitamins A, D3 (necessary for efficient absorption of calcium), K, and B12, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, choline, and available niacin. 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 5 months ago.
Hi,

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?

Dr. Michael Salkin

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