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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 24452
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience
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Not sure if my African is having seizures. She makes loud

Customer Question

Not sure if my African gray is having seizures. She makes loud noises and her left foot hangs down off the perch.
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Bird
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 10 months ago.

I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner. We don't have many avian vets on this site. Please tell me how often these events are occurring. Seizures in birds can take many forms and are relatively common in African greys. The etiology is often idiopathic (unknown) but we consider brain tumor, infections (bacterial, viral, fungal), heat stroke and trauma as well as reproductive and metabolic disorders, nutritional deficiencies (unlikely with Gracie), and toxicity (heavy metal poisoning, e.g.).

You may see three distinct phases to a seizure. The initial phase (the "aura") may represent as altered behavior. The actual seizure is the "ictus" and is often a period of disorientation and inability to coordinate muscular motion. Birds may stiffen and jerk spastically, defecate and vocalize. The third phase is called the "post-ictal" phase lasting for a few minutes to hours and consists of exhaustion, confusion, disorientation, agitation, or restlessness.

Most important is having an avian vet (please see here: www.aav.org) take a look at Gracie and perform a number of tests that might clarify why Gracie is seizing. Blood work and X-rays are important. Treatment would be predicated upon the etiology and anticonvulsive drugs are likely to be prescribed.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish. If you could upload a video of her behavior, I'd very much like to see it. You'll need to upload the video to an external site such as YouTube and then give me the link to it. Remember not to mark the video as "private".