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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 23850
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience
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Parakeet is not active with pulsing very light twirping

Customer Question

Parakeet is not active with pulsing very light twirping occasionally pecks at his chest ...body pulsing. What is wrong with bird? Thanks
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Expert:  Rebekah Kane replied 4 months ago.

Hi there, I am Dr. Kane, and I will do my best to assist you with your pet today. Please give me a moment to type up a response to your concerns. In the meantime- please take a moment to relay any other pertinent information. Sound good?

Expert:  Rebekah Kane replied 4 months ago.

I am sorry to hear that Sara may not be feeling well. Is there any chance you can upload a video here of Sara's behavior?

Expert:  Rebekah Kane replied 4 months ago.

If not, that's OK. Are you still here?

Expert:  Rebekah Kane replied 4 months ago.

Sorry- I cannot take a live phone call. I will opt out so that another expert can help you out.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 4 months ago.

I'll follow up for Dr. Kane for you but the movie link doesn't open. Can you upload the movie to YouTube and then give me the link to it? Remember not to mark it as private. I regret that my state board of veterinary examiners doesn't allow me to speak to customers by phone in this venue but other experts in this category may be able to assist you in this regard. Please let me know if you'd like another expert to do so and I'll opt out of this conversation. Please stay in the conversation if you wish.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Unable to load on video can you give me an idea how to assist the bird?
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 4 months ago.

If you're seeing tail bobbing which you're describing as "pulsing", Sara is experiencing respiratory compromise such as is seen with primary respiratory infections, neoplasia (cancer) in her respiratory system or one of many metabolic disorders that can result in respiratory compromise. Most worrisome, because she's long past life expectancy for a parakeet (10-12 years), her behavior at this time is life-threatening.

An avian-oriented vet (please see here: 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 Sara's choana - the slit between her oral cavity and nose - and cloaca (vent) may be taken. Whole body X-rays can be helpful as well.

Until she 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.

Please continue our conversation if you wish.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 4 months ago.

You're welcome. I can't set a follow-up in this venue so please return to our conversation - even after rating - with an update at your convenience. You can bookmark this page for ease of return.

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