Hello, I'm concerned my parakeet (budgerigar) may have broken her foot or injured it at least.A few hours ago, she flew around the room and landed on the floor. Her nails got caught in the carpet and after roughly five minutes of her struggling and me struggling to help her (she made some of the most heartwrenching noises I'd ever heard), I managed to dislodge her. I immediately brought her back to her cage where she kept biting her right foot and holding it out, seemingly unable to clench it into a fist. I put millet in her cage at her level, and she put weight on her foot to get over to it but seemed to hobble over and won't grip tightly with her injured foot.She seems to be moving around now but with difficulty (like when she climbed down to get a drink of water and had a hard time reaching out from the bars of her cage to the perch of her dish) and when stationary, she's resting on her uninjured foot (tucking the injured one in her feathers). Whenever she tries to put her full weight on the injured one, (to scratch her head with the other foot or to give it a rest, I imagine) she's very quick to put the other foot back down.It's Sunday right now, and unfortunately the vet isn't open until tomorrow. Is there anything I can do to make her comfortable in the meantime? And perhaps a way to tell for sure if it's a break or something else? I know parakeets are notorious for masking their injuries/illnesses, but would that extend to pretending all is well by using her injured foot to stand? I imagine it would hurt so much she wouldn't be able to put weight on it at all if it was broken.Thank you in advance.- Kristin
Pet's Gender: Female
Pet's Age: 3
Type of Animal: budgerigar
This could be a fracture or break that makes the bird prone to infection which can happen pretty quickly. Being safe rather than sorry is important for our feathered companions. If there’s tissue death/necrosis, it will probably be removed. --- That said, let me note that what we think is a disability, to a bird is ‘just the way it is’. They adjust remarkably well to the loss of a toe or two or even an entire foot or leg. It’s not something any of us want to see or have to deal with, but birds are resilient creatures that don’t feel sorry for themselves. --- Just keep this in mind and be prepared--- Find an avian vet near you http://aav.org/vet-lookup --- http://www.parrotpro.com/avlist.php --- and --- http://veccs.org/hospital_directory.php While Board Certified Avian Vets are the ideal choice in most cases, it’s not necessary. I’ve met BCAV’s that I personally feel shouldn’t be allowed in the same room as a bird, and I know ‘regular’ vets that specialize in avian care to the point of being published with the American Veterinary Medical Association repeatedly and highly sought after for information, input and personal research. These days, with birds growing fast in popularity as in home companions, many DVM’s are quite experienced and able to see and treat many birds. If you have a pet store that sells birds or know of any bird breeders – ask them who they use for their bird care. If you have a Pet Smart in town you may have a vet for your bird. Most Pet Smart’s now have a veterinary clinic inside and many of them will see birds (open 7 days a week too). *********************************************Leg fractures happen sometimes with the most minor of events, like a hard fall from a perch, cage top or crash into a wall or window. Sometimes it’s the result of another animal, human or any number of accidents that can happen. --- What’s most important is to have your bird evaluated to decide where the break or fracture is and how bad. --- The ‘shin bone’ (tibiotarsal) is the most often fracture seen. Generally speaking, a special tape can be employed to splint the leg for approximately a month to set and heal certain types of these fractures successfully. --- When the fracture is of the femur (thigh bone), surgery is necessary. --- You can see more about this, including detailed photos, here --- http://www.lbah.com/avian/fxtibia.htm --- Toe injury? --- First and most important in my opinion is that she's very probably in pain. Birds are expert 'maskers' - meaning that even moments away from dying they will use every last bit of strength to act like everything is fine. We, as intelligent humans with compassion, need to make an assumption (a sort of "if this... then that"). If we see signs of injury - then it must hurt.--- Even if your vet determines she's not in pain, you'll feel better knowing you loved her enough to check.--- Second reason to bring her in: Infection. If there's a fracture or break at any little tiny bone, there's the possibility of infection at the site (inside, where you can't see).--- When we have an infection there's always the potential of that infection going blood borne. Upon that happening it can cause what owners think is a sudden death.--- Prescribed antibiotics (a vet will likely give an injection) help assure this doesn't happen.----------In some severe cases a vet may recommend removal of the toe.---------- Until you get to the vet keep your companion in a safe environment, no possibility of further tangles and be sure she's eating - preferably foods with hydration built in like grapes, berries, applesauce, and such. You'll know she's eating by monitoring her droppings. As long as they're normal, great! When they seem scant or very hard - not great. Get that vet appt. faster. I believe she's going to make it just fine. She has a very caring human parent and believe me, this makes all the difference
First of all, thank you very much for your in-depth reply! I would accept that answer alone, but I wanted to thank you first and wasn't sure if I could answer if I did haha!I have a very wonderful, board certified avian vet who I take Nana to. It's just that Sunday is the only day of the week the clinic isn't open (just my luck!) so I intend to take her first thing tomorrow.I've been keeping my eye on her, and although there seems to be a little bit of a limp, she was actually sleeping for a good twenty minutes with her weight fully on the injured leg (the other was tucked up in her feathers). Now she's hopping around and climbing down to eat. Haha at this exact moment, she's playing with one of her toys enthusiastically. I know this isn't a clear sign it isn't serious, but I am a little relieved to see her energy levels this high in spite of an injury.Would you recommend removing her perches for the evening and placing something soft on the bottom of the cage? Or should things be fine as they are?
Thank you too, for such kind words. I really can tell when I'm dealing with someone devoted to the wellbeing of their bird rather than someone who just 'owns' a bird. You wouldn't believe how many responses I get that angrily state "I'm not paying more for medical care than I paid for the bird" Oh my goodness! I want to go take those birds away from these cold hearted people. As for your perches, as long as she's comfortable, leave them. If she seems to be falling --- remove them and have her stay at the floor. You really are pretty sharp. Those instincts will continue to serve both of you well. And you can accept and still re open this anytime. I'll always respond.
Cert. Avian Specialist; Int. Assoc.Animal Behavior Consult; Pet Ind. Joint Advisory Council; author
I just wanted to follow up and let you know -- Nana is just fine. Even the next day before I took her to the vet, she was climbing all around her cage and playing like normal. The vet said it was likely soft tissue damage that healed on its own with some rest, but she did get her toenails clipped while she was there to prevent snagging in the future!Thank you again for answering my question in the height of my worry! Talking about it with an expert and getting the information you provided did help to put me at ease.
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