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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 23851
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience
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My cockatoo just threw up some egg I gave earlier...I have

Customer Question

My cockatoo just threw up some egg I gave earlier...I have never seen my bird do bird has been in family 35, I believe it is a senior...not sure of exact age...everything else seems normal.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Hopefully it didn't make a mess. Did your bird eat anything unusual?
Customer: No, I fed carrots and some hardboiled egg...usually seeds and fresh water.
JA: OK. The Veterinarian will know what to do. What is the bird's name?
Customer: Snowy
JA: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Snowy?
Customer: It's a Goffin Cockatoo...
Submitted: 13 days ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 13 days ago.

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Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 13 days ago.

I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner. We don't have many avian vets on this site. One episode of regurgitation/vomiting may not be significant; recurring episodes need to be evaluated. Here's what you need to know:

A bird that bobs its head up and down in a sort of pumping motion, beak open and then a purposeful delivery of partially digested food is regurgitating. This is something they would do to feed offspring or a mate. It’s done by some birds to objects (toys, mirrors, people) they are particularly fond of - especially if they’re in a breeding season, when a bird wants to please their owner and/or is of a nervous temperament. Regurgitation that is unusual enough for you to make note of it like you have, might be a symptom of crop infection/impaction and a bird losing ingesta in that manner will become malnourished.

Vomiting is more of a head “flicking” event. The bird will often seem uneasy, pacing or uncomfortable and although the head bobbing might be similar to the regurgitation action, it’s usually more of a shaking and the end result is a very splattered, sticky substance that may or may not include food. When there’s blood showing in the vomitus it may indicate esophageal or proventricular ulcers.

An avian vet (please see here: will take a look into Snowy's mouth as part of a thorough physical examination and is likely to examine a swab of the oral cavity for abnormal numbers of either bacteria, yeast, or parasites. A good exam will also check for any growths or tumors.

Vomiting is a more serious symptom and seeing a vet as soon as possible is important. Should this episode repeat, I would be more comfortable knowing that Snowy was examined by an avian vet. There are far too many possible etiologies of vomiting to list in this venue, but as in any case of illness, getting it evaluated, diagnosed and treated right away is often the best outcome at the lowest cost. Infections of the gastrointestinal tract (bacterial, viral, fungal) are important differentials in vomiting birds. Gram negative bacteria are a common cause of gastrointestinal infection. These bacteria can proliferate after a bird is stressed. Stress can involve changes in their environment, being frightened, having their sleep hours reduced or other changes in schedules or even a difference in food. Another possible cause is contamination of food or water by fecal matter.

If Snowy won't drink and eat on its own please consider eyedroppering an infant fluid and electrolyte replacer such as Pedialyte every 20-30 minutes. Put the dropper gently inside the beak and let the drops fall into the bottom beak under the tongue rather than trying to get into the back of the throat. We don’t want to chance of Snowy inhaling the fluid and developing pneumonia. Please heat up his environment to 85F so he need not expend excess energy keeping his body temperature up.

A good bland feeding option at this time is to offer all natural, organic baby food (squash, yams, sweet potatoes, mixed vegetables) which many birds take readily; also try some pablum or baby rice cereal and live-culture yogurt.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

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