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August Abbott, CAS
August Abbott, CAS , Certified Avian Specialist
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 7513
Experience:  Cert. Avian Specialist; Int. Assoc.Animal Behavior Consult; Pet Ind. Joint Advisory Council; author
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My canary is sick, but I cant figure out whats wrong with

Resolved Question:

My canary is sick, but I can't figure out what's wrong with him. He had mites, which I've been addressing with SCAT and thoroughly cleaning his cage and spraying with anti-lice. He seemed to perk up for several days, but now he sits with his feathers fluffed and he's not eating well. What else could I do to help him. I feed him seed, hard boiled egg whites, fresh sprouted bird seed, apples slices.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Bird
Expert:  August Abbott, CAS replied 2 years ago.
-- OK, this will really shock you, but it's absolutely true & I have nothing to gain by being honest: Mites are actually rather RARE in indoor birds kept in reasonably clean environments.

IF a bird ever ends up with mites, the REAL treatment is by prescription only and is administered orally; in some cases with a single drop of prescribed med to the back of neck, directly on skin.

Pet store products don't work. None of them. They can claim whatever they want because of lax laws in the pet industry for truth in advertising

The worst part of this? Every year hundreds of sweet little birds like Limoncello die from the product.

If an owner sues for the death the expense of a lawyer is in the 4-figure range and when all is said and done the most anyone gets is "replacement cost" for the bird. As if it were a piece of furniture that broke!

Disgusting, underhanded behavior by companies who are motivated by pure greed and who will exploit good owners trying to do the right thing for a sick bird.

So, first things first: Throw away the Scat and clean the cage, toys and perches.


Go here:

and read the 'treatment options'


Keep in mind that I gain nothing by directing you to a vet for this; the info at the page listed above also gains nothing by being honest. The only one who gains something by trying to convince you it works is the so-called anti mite product.

Don't buy into it


Until you get him seen, try putting a vaporizer without meds in it in his cage's vicinity. Don't wait too long for the vet visit though. The sooner, the better his chance of a cure.

And please let me know how you both make out ok? I will be here for you no matter what!


Customer: replied 2 years ago.

There was definitely some type of mite/bug infesting his cage before I treated him with the SCAT. (Which is one of the treatments suggested on The bugs were the size of a pin prick and were particularly thick around his sleeping perch.I had taken him to an avian vet in my area, but she didn't check him for mites and wanted to keep him in an oxygen room and tube feed him. But he was eating just fine when I took him in and I thought the trauma of the suggested treatment would kill him. Also, I couldn't afford the $500 vet stay, especially having spent $250 for the emergency visit. I'll put the vaporizer in his room. And I'll clean his cage and everything in it thoroughly again. Any other suggestions.

Expert:  August Abbott, CAS replied 2 years ago.
-- There are lots of 'bugs' that aren't mites, but I have to agree with you that the size and location of them seem to fit. Mites live in the cracks and crevices of cage bars, perches and even toys or materials. They don't prefer to live on their host (bird), they only come out at night to feed on the bird's blood and then they go back to their hiding spot for daylight.

So clean everything thoroughly. If you have a steam cleaner use that. If not, use a solution of half and half chlorine bleach and hot water. Soak the areas for at least 10 minutes and rinse well, twice. Let it all air dry - preferably in full sun, but anywhere will do.

By doing this every-other day for about 7-10 days and as long as the infestation is only this one kind of mite, it should work.

However, if your little one has air sac mites (only a vet exam will know) without professional treatment (Rx) this only progresses and is usually fatal.


By the way, find another vet. It sounds like the one you had took terrible advantage of you and I am deeply sorry for your bad experience. Please don't think ill of everyone for one bad egg

A regular office appt. will suffice - it should run about $40, maybe $50 or so. An application of meds would be reasonable (it varies across the country) -- just please try one more time ok?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Just cleaned cage and everything in it as you directed. AND, dried in the sun. I'll continue to do this every other day for 10 to 15 days. I checked out other avian vets in my area (Boston) and found another who said the initial visit and exam would cost $84.00. Vets are expensive here! I'll watch Limoncello carefully, and if it looks like he's going downhill, I'll bite the bullet and take him in. But I want to try the careful cleaning regime first. I'll let you know how he fares. Thank you for your advise. I hope I'm able to pull him through.

Expert:  August Abbott, CAS replied 2 years ago.
Chris, if anyone can do this, YOU can. He obviously owns your heart, just like every rescue here owns mine.

Good luck!

August Abbott, CAS, Certified Avian Specialist
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 7513
Experience: Cert. Avian Specialist; Int. Assoc.Animal Behavior Consult; Pet Ind. Joint Advisory Council; author
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