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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 24412
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience
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Suddenly I notice my 18 year old sun conure is lethargic and

Customer Question

suddenly I notice my 18 year old sun conure is lethargic and stumbles when she walks in her cage. I am afraid she could not take the stress of going to a vet and having tests done.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Bird
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner. We don't have many avian-oriented vets on the site. It's important to note that once a conure acts ill they're quite ill and in need of the attention of an avian-oriented vet (please see here: www.aav.org). This is a protective mechanism because ill birds are attacked by other birds in the wild. Lucho's symptoms of lethargy and ataxia ("drunken sailor") and are important symptoms but they're not pathognomonic (specifically indicative) of any one disorder. I understand your concerns but you won't be able to manage Lucho at home without knowing why she's behaving in that manner.

An avian-oriented vet will first treat symptomatically and supportively by providing supplemental fluids and electrolytes by needle and tube feeding a "recovery" food. Blood tests and cultures of Lucho's choana - the slit between her oral cavity and nose - and cloaca (vent) may be taken.

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.

Nutritional imbalances are a common cause of illness in our pet birds. What has Lucho's diet consisted of, please?

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.
Hi David,
I'm just following up on our conversation about Lucho. How is everything going?
bigislandvet

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