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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 28019
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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Fluffed up parakeet, still has good appetite but sleeping on

Customer Question

fluffed up parakeet, still has good appetite but sleeping on both legs instead of one tucked up, head to side. I have erythromycin can I put it in the water and if so what dose? Not hand fed or raised parakeets so I am afraid using syringe will stress already sick bird help me, please
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Could be a lot of things that cause lethargy. The Veterinarian will know how to help the bird. Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about the bird?
Customer: oddly has great appetite I would have thought that would not be the case, I have 2 together in the cage no means to separate really
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: Bird
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
hi just checking in
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
hi it has been almost an hour, please help
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
how much longer?
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I have been quoted 8 minute wait time for over 1.5 hours? Please help us thank you!!
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 month ago.

You're speaking to Dr. Michael Salkin. Welcome to JustAnswer. I'm currently typing up my reply. Please be patient. This may take a few minutes.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 month ago.

I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner. We don't have many avian vets on this site. To answer you directly, we never place antibiotics in the water as they won't help a sick bird if only because an ill bird won't drink enough to medicate itself properly. Erythromycin has been pulled from the market by the FDA due to lack of efficacy in birds.

It's important to note that once a parakeet acts ill it's already 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 sick birds are attacked by other birds in the wild and within their flock. His (?) symptoms of fluffing and wekaness are important symptoms but they're not pathognomonic (specifically indicative) of any one particular disorder.

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 his 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 he 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.

Nutritional imbalances are a common cause of illness in our pet birds. What has his diet consisted of, please? Seeds should compose less than 20% of his diet. A diet of mainly seed and nuts has excessive fat, carbohydrates, and phosphorus; marginal protein; adequate vitamin E, and are deficient in amino acids, calcium, available phosphorus, sodium, manganese, zinc, iron, vitamins A, D3 (necessary for efficient absorption of calcium), K, and B12, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, choline, and available niacin. 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.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.