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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 27352
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience
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My parakeet keeps rubbing his neck and face on his perch and

Customer Question

My parakeet keeps rubbing his neck and face on his perch and gagging. His poops also have turned runny. When out of the cage he seems active and normal. We also have a female bird who spends much of the day with him but doesn't have any of the symptoms. I've had the birds for about 10 months. The boy started gagging shortly after we had him, then it stopped and now he's doing it again all these months later with the addition of the runny poops. We don't have an avian vet in our area.
JA: IÂ’m sorry to hear that. Coughing can be worrying. The Veterinarian will know what you should do. What is the bird's name?
Customer: His name is Peter. Do you call "gagging" coughing? The girl's name is Daisy
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Daisy?
Customer: Only that she's very, very unfriendly; otherwise seems healthy.
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Veterinarian about your situation and then connect you two.
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 vets on this site. I am wondering what you're seeing/hearing that you're describing as gagging - regurgitation? vomiting? Birds do cough, however. Diarrhea is a nonspecific symptom but often results from gram negative bacterial infection in parakeets - bacteria we transfer to our birds directly or through their food. We can find those same bacteria in the respiratory tract and, in fact, they can cause sepsis - infection throughout the bird which is life-threatening. A systemic antibiotic is essential but must be prescribed by an avian vet (please see here: www.aav.org). I understand your logistical constraints but over the counter antibiotics won't do the trick. An avian-oriented vet might first treat symptomatically and supportively by providing supplemental fluids and electrolytes by needle and tube feeding a "recovery" food. Blood tests and cultures of Peter's choana - the slit between his oral cavity and nose - and cloaca (vent) may be taken. Whole body X-rays can be quite helpful as well.Until Peter can be attended to, please heat up his environment to 85F by means of a 100W bulb shined into his partially covered cage (not at night when he needs to rest) or by taping a heating pad set on its lowest setting to the sides of his cage. If he appears weakened remove his perches and put his food and water on the bottom of the cage along with him. Add a water soluble avian vitamin such as Oasis brand to his water at half of the recommended dose so as not to make his water distasteful. Add a calcium supplement such as Calcivet or Calciboost to his water. These supplements are available in pet/feed stores. Avoid over the counter antibiotics designed to be placed in his 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 Peter's diet consisted of, please? Seeds should compose less than 20% of his diet. Ideally, a balanced pelleted diet such as can be found here: www.harrisonsbirdfoods.com or here: www.lafeber.com/pet-birds should be fed as well as hard boiled egg yolk, pancakes and cornbread, the tops of fresh greens, dairy products such as yogurt and cheese, fresh fruits such as apples, pears, melon, kiwi, and berries, vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, beets, asparagus, cabbage, sweet potato, and squash, and even tiny pieces of meat.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.
Hi,

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?

DrMichaelSalkin