How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask S. August Abbott, CAS Your Own Question

S. August Abbott, CAS
S. August Abbott, CAS, Certified Avian Specialist
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 7369
Experience:  Cert. Avian Specialist; Int. Assoc.Animal Behavior Consult; Pet Ind. Joint Advisory Council; author
1604863
Type Your Bird Question Here...
S. August Abbott, CAS is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Hi, my bird is on the bottom of his cage walking in circles.

Customer Question

Hi, my bird is on the bottom of his cage walking in circles. He can still fly.. but very disoriented. I changed his diet a couple weeks ago & the vet had said it was because of that & gave me antibiotics and told me to give him his old food back. Well he's been on antibiotics for 3 days now & eating his old food. But he's still experiencing the symptoms. Nothing has improved, nothing has gotten worse. His eyes are clear. He's keeping his feathers ruffled & is sleeping alot. Any idea what this could be? I'm worried sick.

Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Bird
Expert:  S. August Abbott, CAS replied 2 years ago.
I am sorry for the delay. I believe we were under the impression you had posted earlier and were being responded to already. Did you post before this?

In any case, if you haven't received help yet, tell me what has happened since you posted.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I never received a response to my question. Nothing has changed. He is still acting the same and has been for a few days now ): I don't know what could be wrong. I researched a bunch of diseases or lack of a certain vitamen and nothing seems to add up.
Expert:  S. August Abbott, CAS replied 2 years ago.
-- I am so sorry for the mix up, but hopefully we can work together and get your little one stronger.

Let's put together an 'at home intensive care unit' for him, also known as a brooder

For a makeshift brooder, use a small box lined with soft clothes like tee shirts.
---
Use a thick, clean sock and fill it ¾ with plain, raw white rice. Knot the end and microwave it for about 1 ½ minutes. Shake it afterwards to distribute the heat and be sure it's not too hot. Tuck this in just under the cloths.
---
A heating pad under the box is also helpful, set on low. This is one of the few times I’d ever use both heat sources if necessary to maintain incubation temp (90-105 degrees).
---
If ever using an electric source for heating anything in anyway, please be vigilant and constantly double checking carefully.
---
Gently drape a light cover over this box to further help hold heat in and keep light low.
---
This is going to help a lot, but it won't cure him. Even if he seems to get better and be stronger, do not trust it. Birds are the BEST 'maskers' in nature. Often we don't have any idea there's anything wrong until shortly before they lose their life. We are going to work very hard to make sure this doesn't happen.

---
As for food: Feeding options
---
Feeding options for certain circumstances of need:
---

Offer ½ spoon of all natural, organic baby food (squash, yams, sweet potatoes, mixed vegetables) which many birds take readily; also try some pabulum or baby rice cereal and a few licks of natural (no artificial anything) yogurt.
---
Make an oatmeal using 2 tablespoons of all natural oats + 4 tablespoons of plain, hot tap water. Let it stand for about 5 or 10 minutes until the water is mostly absorbed. You can add ½ teaspoon of no sugar added, all natural applesauce, either regular or jarred baby food type, which often makes the oatmeal more acceptable for picky eaters.
---
Chop up some fresh or dried fruits to add. With dried fruits try to find ‘no sulfites’ on the packaging.

**********************************************

For supportive care & hydration:
---
Make some sugar water with 1-2 tablespoons of natural white sugar (none of those sugar substitutes no matter how natural they claim to be) in ½ cup of water. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and offer the bird a couple drops of this along with the Pedialyte.
---
In a pinch, Gatorade or other sports drink without added zinc or at least with zinc listed low on the list of ingredients, can be used while you are getting Pedialyte.

********************

If you want to look more into feeding and nutritional options that might build a stronger immune system, I have a great deal of admiration and respect for Carolyn Swicegood's


---


Kitchen Physician


---


And 'Juicing' plus many varied options, including getting your companion off their junk food diet (seeds) and eating healthier for a longer, happier life 4animalcare.org/birds


---


Overall feeding information, recipes and options right here 4AnimalCare


**********************************************************************

A temporary feeding formula for unweaned birds, that can be used for just a few days:
---
(Human) baby rice cereal mixed as directed
---
Add (also from the baby food aisle) ½ to 1 teaspoon each of:
Applesauce
Sweet potatoes/yams
Peas or Green beans
---

A professional formula must be given, otherwise what seems like a healthy and thriving bird may be found “all of a sudden” in a very dire way.


---


There are mail order and shipping options that go just about everywhere. A very good supplier that I use is www.DrsFosterandSmith.com . There are plenty of others, so explore and find the one that is right for you.

********************************************************************
It’s generally recommended that most of today’s companion birds have a predominantly pelleted diet. Pellets have been continually updated since being introduced to the market years ago and today’s formulas are better than ever.
---
Supplementing this diet with fresh foods every day is ideal and many owners find they can re-introduce seeds - in limited amounts (perhaps once or twice a week) without the bird refusing the pellets overall.
---
Whole grains, dark leafy vegetables, fruits and legumes. Include the colors orange, yellow , green, plus reds too! Think sweet potatoes/yams, squash, melons, oranges, peas, chard, beets and others.  
---
Brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat couscous and natural, whole grain pastas are great choices.
---
Limit fats, especially the kind from animals. Good fats are most plant fats like soy, olive and canola oils.  No fried anything
---
Another thing you can try is all natural, human baby food. Stick to the orange colors.
---
They can be mixed with tiny pasta or rice, whole grain bread or toast - remember, be more creative than the bird is stubborn.
---------------------------------
As odd as it sounds, birds don’t need much, if any vitamin C. It is a water soluble vitamin which means it passes out of the body after the body takes what it needs and C is available in a wide variety of both fresh and processed foods given to birds.
---
Vitamin A/Beta Carotene, on the other hand, is frequently found to be deficient in birds. This is a fat soluble vitamin which means it gets stored in the fat cells of the body, so it’s possible to overdose on it. With our companion birds though, too little is the situation most often encountered.
---
The symptoms a bird will show when deficient include exactly what you're seeing.
---
See overall feeding options when he's all better : www.4AnimalCare.org/birds for details that include three homemade recipes you can also eat along with your bird.
---

Now tell me, what qualifications does this vet have to treat birds?

Have you used them before? Why did they prescribe antibiotics? Did they test for something and find an infection?

Thanks
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Ok I moved him into a small tank with sheets layed down in it & a heating pad under the tank on low. I'll keep checking to make sure its not too hot. I'm going to try baby food tomorrow. I bought some vitamin drops to put in his water, but i wasnt sure if I should. It's a multi vitamin for birds. Ecotrition I believe is the brand. I have been giving him some water through a syringe tube & he drinks it very willingly even though he has a dish of fresh water 24/7 on the ground for him. Should I continue giving him water this way just in case he stopped drinking from the bowl? If so how often? I took him to North star emergency vet as soon as i saw him like this on the 10th I believe. They didn't have their expert bird vet there but they had exotic vets on staff. They wanted to do xrays because they couldnt tell from an exam what was wrong, however they wanted to confirm with the expert that it was the right call. So they called the expert and he said this is common in young lovebirds if you change their diet and they don't like it. That they will basically starve themselves. So the vet on staff told me to change his food back and put him on antibiotics as a "just in case" type of thing.
Expert:  S. August Abbott, CAS replied 2 years ago.
-- Don't use the vitamin drops. I think your instincts are way better than this vet.

It's also pretty far fetched to pin this on a food change, so don't go blaming yourself. If he was on seeds prior to this, chances are that is the culprit, but it doesn't happen overnight or even in a few days or weeks.

As for the antibiotics - all the avian vets I know AND myself use them only when absolutely necessary and only when a bacterial infection is defined. The reason? Antibiotics not only kill the bad bacteria, but they also kill the GOOD bacteria. The stuff your bird needs to stay strong, keep his immune system working and tuned up.

Plus, antibiotics tend to cause fungal infections which add to the initial problem. When a bird is started on antibiotics they are monitored for this OR given an anti fungal 'just in case'. That would be prudent. Antibiotics given 'just in case' ? Not usually.

I cannot tell you to stop, but I can urge you to get your companion to a 'genuine' avian vet rather quickly (within 24-48 hours or sooner if he takes a turn for the worse)

---
If he can stand and move around, providing a shallow bowl of water should be enough. If you're going to give him water by hand, just a drop or two to the side of the beak - not actually forced inside - will do fine.

---
Also, this is NOT common in lovebirds. All of this info is scaring me about that vet.

An oral swab, a swab from the vent and blood sample are easy and quick and would have been a decent baseline of information.

Yes, there might be a tumor internally causing this, but one step at a time right?

Also, when you find the right vet, perhaps have a heavy metal eval done. If anything in his cage has a magnetic field (use a refrigerator magnet to test) he may have gnawed on parts and slowly ingested heavy metal, causing a toxic reaction.

Again though, one step at a time.

------

Though specialized avian vets are ideal, any vet who sees a majority of birds or at least 1/3 of their practice consisting of birds is a good choice.
---
If you have a Pet Smart, you have Banfield Clinic inside, open 7 days a week and they see birds.
---
If you have a Pet Co, they have a list of vet names that they use for themselves and are happy to give you, ask for 'bird vets'.
---
Ask any vet in town who they'd recommend for bird care. Ask any good breeder in town who they use (if they don't use anyone, they are not a good breeder, stay away from them).
---
Find an avian vet near you
--- http://aav.org/search

Just keep calm most of all. I know this is a lot of information to digest and on top of it you're nervous about your buddy, but you'll do ok if you keep breathing, deep breaths and remember that he can tell if you're upset. So cheer him on, comfort him, love him to pieces and get him a vet who knows birds inside and out

OK?
S. August Abbott, CAS, Certified Avian Specialist
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 7369
Experience: Cert. Avian Specialist; Int. Assoc.Animal Behavior Consult; Pet Ind. Joint Advisory Council; author
S. August Abbott, CAS and other Bird Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Ok thank you so much for your help. I'm going to cut back the anti biotics a little. I'm giving him a very small amount in the morning and at night as told from the vet. I'll try just the mornings for today and tomorrow (since today is sunday) find a different vet to take him to and see what they say. For now I'm taking your advice with everything since what the other vet told me to do, isn't making him any better. He's still the same this morning. Also I'm going to contact his breeder and see if he knows what might be going on. He lives pretty far so driving there with my lovebird might stress him more. I will keep you updated and I'm hoping my buddy gets better. you have been very helpful. Thank you again.
Expert:  S. August Abbott, CAS replied 2 years ago.
If you're going to 'cut back' on the antibiotics, you might as well stop them. I'd feel better and your lovey might too.

I also agree with you about not driving to a breeder to have them evaluate your bird. It isn't that the stress would do the bird in (that's an old, old wives tale), but a breeder often has no more education to bird care or treatment than a 12 year old. I've met 70 year old breeders (the oldest I've known was 91) who have been doing the wrong thing and giving the wrong information for ALL of the years they've done it.

But they believe in that bad info and they present it with confidence; others see age and hear confidence and figure they're talking to a doctor or something.

Truth be told, very, very rarely have I met a breeder who had any idea what they are doing. Remember, birds do what birds have been doing for billions of years. Anyone can 'breed' them.

I want you to be very careful and I'm going to be your 'best friend' through this as long as you let me ok? I have nothing to lose by being honest with you and it's just the right thing to do, right?

No need to press 'accept' again on this - unless you're a subscriber, then press away :-) Otherwise, I don't want you charged further - I'll do all these follow ups for free

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I didn't know that I accept meant they were charging me? Anyhow so i took him back to the vet. Waited 2-3 hours to be seen by the bird expert because I refused to see anyone else. I got an xray done that showed a foreign object in his 2nd(?) Stomach. The vets guess is a piece of metal shavings. It's tiny and square & some of the bars in his cage are peeling and rusty. It's a very large parrot cage. So he is having me do injections every day for 10 days. He taught me how to do them. I will have to get the name of it. It's suppose to aid in the break down of the metal and also gave me meds for his stomach & told me to stay on the anti biotics. Does this all sound right to you? Like does it sound like it would make sense? Thank you in advance. Also he seems much more comfortable and warm in his tank. Also he ate some banana today, I was very happy.
Expert:  S. August Abbott, CAS replied 2 years ago.
-- The deposit you made was released when you clicked an accept, but you only did it once so that's the only price you paid. If you're not a subscriber, as long as you don't press that again you won't be charged anymore and I'm fine with that. I'm honored to work together with you on this. You're very smart and you clearly love your bird.

--- One of the possibilities I mentioned earlier was 'heavy metal toxicity' - and while it was 3rd on the list - actually it's GOOD to be found. That means a resolution is going to be faster than having to go through lots of ongoing diagnostics.

I feel much more confident with this new doctor. Now be sure to keep me in the loop ok? I'm still going to be here for you

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

He passed away on the 19th, it broke my heart & sorry for not updating you. I haven't really wanted to talk about it except with personal people in my life. I still have all his belongings. I haven't touched them. I feel I might adopt a lovebird around christmas if there are some available in a shelter instead of going to a breeder. Birdkee could never be replaced.. he was a very special animal to me.. however people can pass money down, valuables, houses, anything really when their time comes. Animals only have OUR love they left behind to give to another animal in need. Sorry to sound corny. Anyhow, I really appreciated your advice through everything. & with your help he was very comfortable his last week because I wouldn't have thought to put him in a home made incubator. I checked on him CONSTANTLY & hand fed him all the water he wanted as he ate on his own. It was just too late for him to make a come back.

Expert:  S. August Abbott, CAS replied 1 year ago.
Oh no. Oh my God, I am so very, truly sorry. When I received this 'reply' I had a feeling something bad happened. I wish I could say something to take how bad you feel away and make you better.

I've lost patients over the years and been deeply attached to a couple of them. They were actually rescues that were part of my family for a year or two when they succumbed to their different diseases. Even knowing they're dying right from the beginning doesn't make it any easier. Not even close.

---
You don't sound corny at all. You sound very big hearted and insightful. Never be ashamed of that.

---
Since we don't know 'for sure' what happened, you have to toss anything of his that's porous. If water is absorbed into the item, so are bad bacteria, fungus and more. Out it goes.

The rest, like bowls, plastic, glass, metal -- soak in a disinfectant solution of 1 part chlorine bleach to 9 parts HOT water for at least 1/2 hour -- rinse in hot water at least twice and let air dry, preferably in direct sun, but anywhere clean is fine


When you're ready to honor his life with a new family member, please let me know and we'll do it together. We'll get the newbie on idea food, a perfect regimen and everything else a spoiled rotten bird deserves

Thank you for getting back to me though. Even though it's heartbreaking I'm glad you told me

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • Thank you so much!!! I love this service. It has given me peace of mind and extremely valuable information at an affordable price 24/7 to care for my beloved pets. THANK YOU Linda Centerreach, NY
< Last | Next >
  • Thank you so much!!! I love this service. It has given me peace of mind and extremely valuable information at an affordable price 24/7 to care for my beloved pets. THANK YOU Linda Centerreach, NY
  • I found my experience with you to be very positive. Not only did the vet answer my question thoroughly, he left me with a better knowledge to follow up with my vet. Marilou East Taunton, MA
  • I must tell you I found this site by accident and was amazed when I asked a question of the Veteranians online. I wish I could have found it sooner it could have made such a difference in the outcome of my pet's surgery. However, I am passing along the information to my sister-in-law (a cat-rescue person who is also a nurse), and perhaps it will help someone else who may experience the same problem. The doctor who answered my question was amazing, and while it didn't come it time to change the outcome of my situation, it is reassuring to know the caliber of Vets/Doctors that you have at JustAnswer. Thank you for being there. Alice H. Jacksonville, Fl.
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
  • This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!! Alex Los Angeles, CA
  • Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult. GP Hesperia, CA
  • I couldn't be more satisfied! This is the site I will always come to when I need a second opinion. Justin Kernersville, NC
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • S. August Abbott, CAS

    Certified Avian Specialist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2481
    Cert. Avian Specialist; Int. Assoc.Animal Behavior Consult; Pet Ind. Joint Advisory Council; author
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/TH/The1Caretaker/2012-6-6_23333_AugustJuly11.64x64.JPG S. August Abbott, CAS's Avatar

    S. August Abbott, CAS

    Certified Avian Specialist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2481
    Cert. Avian Specialist; Int. Assoc.Animal Behavior Consult; Pet Ind. Joint Advisory Council; author
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/MS/MsAM/2012-6-9_16426_anna.64x64.jpeg Anna's Avatar

    Anna

    Bird Expert, Biologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1017
    Have owned and/or raised parakeets, finches, cockatiels, and poultry over a period of thirty years.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/BI/birddoctor/2012-6-22_173214_birddoctor.64x64.png Dr. Pat's Avatar

    Dr. Pat

    Avian Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    561
    25 years as avian-only veterinarian
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/JA/Jav917/2012-2-20_54059_201221802254JoananddavidArchuleta3.64x64.jpg Joan's Avatar

    Joan

    Vet. Tech.

    Satisfied Customers:

    82
    Vet Tech
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/drangeladuke/2008-05-04_075618_justanswerphoto.jpg Dr. Angela's Avatar

    Dr. Angela

    Bird Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    77
    Member of the Association of Avian Veterinarians. Extensive avian clinical experience.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/durangojo/2010-05-12_205717_shrunken_avatar.jpg Dr. Jo's Avatar

    Dr. Jo

    Avian Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    57
    I have been a veterinarian since 1994 and am experienced with avian medicine and hand-feeding.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/AL/alhdvm/2011-1-30_22392_DSC01130.64x64.JPG Dr. Hinson's Avatar

    Dr. Hinson

    Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    33
    Veterinarian experienced in avian and exotic animals.