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ZooCVT
ZooCVT, Certified Veterinary Technician
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 1528
Experience:  25+ years of experience w/ sm. animal, fish, exotics, orthopedics, ophthalmology and zoo medicine.
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birds: acting..(shaking) somewhat, her head..is a seizure..than normal

Customer Question

We have a question about how one of our birds is acting. We have noticed over the last few months, that our 3 y/o B&G Macaw is falling off of her perch and on occasion (every few days to weeks (totally random)) will squak really loud and fly off of her perch in a random direction, when she lands, she has one wing outspread and is (shaking) somewhat, her head, to me this is a seizure; when we pick her up, she is better. One thing we did notice is that her right foot is much MUCH darker than her left foot, more black than normal. She was a resuce that we obtained from a petshop, who was on a seed only diet, we have been feeding her ’bird goop’ a mixture of fruits, vegis, seeds, (tons of different items that they can eat and play with at the same time) and she looks wonderful, her beak finally healed, and she loves interacting with us. Her foot that is darker than her other foot she will not stand on unless she has to, she prefers to sit on her pearch only on her left leg, sleeps only on one leg, and will eat with the left leg and stand on the right one. She is not aggressive, and her behavior is steady in regards XXXXX XXXXX We do have another parrot who we just rescued about a week ago from another petshop, she is near death, only on seed diet for her entire life, her sternum is very visible, she is on calcium fortified water, and bird goop, and is finally doing better, we spray her with ’molt ease’ because she is going through her first molt. However, her right foot is also turning darker than her left foot, she doesn’t sleep on both feet, just one. We are very concerned, is there an illness that is relating to this, we have searched the web, but not found out much responce on ’darker feet’. Some natural plants that are in the house are date palms, ferns, and ficuses, however since the birds are with us usually about 100% of the time, they don’t eat them, we do live in a cedar house, but they don’t eat the wood, as it is sealed; they don’t have access to metals, so we are not certian if it is poison. Please, any information would be helpful. Condition of the beaks on both birds is wonderful, feet are smooth (as much as a macaw’s can be) and feathrers are gleamy (good condition) and not frayed; the new bird is black pitted due to malnutrition, however that is getting better; their eyes are bright, however our older macaw has hazy eyes (had them since birth according to pet shop) neither bird is tender on the stomach, back or wings, or near anal region. Both birds preen quite a bit, but no moving dots noticed on their skin or feathers, both have nice white faces, and no other underlying symptoms that we can think of. The feet look like (on older bird) ink stained (very dark black) and her foot is cold, a bit clamy, but she still uses them and tries to bite it from time to time; not that smooth (but normal for a macaw); our younger birds foot is simliar, however less black, and more grey and bumpy, she doesn’t bite hers, and no pain in either birds foot. Any suggestions?
Submitted: 12 years ago.
Category: Pet
Expert:  ZooCVT replied 12 years ago.
 
I would be concerned with kidney problems because of the diet. Also,
with the foot that is darker and won't use...how does it feel? Colder
than the other one. This could be a circulation problem. Nutrition
plays such a big role, as you know, in their health and bad nutrition
in their past may have caused sevre damage. I would definately have
your vet do blood samples on both to check their values. I would also
have them check for zinc/lead toxicity and x-rays. This may be a major
problem but can be corrected if caught soon enough. I remember a bird
we worked on showing signs of lameness and we x-rayed and it had lead
in its system that it ingested. We weren't sure if that was the cause
of the lameness but once he was treated, the lameness was gone..Good
luck and let me know if you have any more questions. These birds are
lucky to have people like you around


Expert:  Critter doctor replied 12 years ago.

  It sounds like they are basically healthy although they have been on a bad diet. Your explanation is very clear and I think the older bird is experiencing a behavior problem do to the introduction of the new bird. Trying to remember if the feet problem is a cause for concern and I think not as long as they have circulation. Many birds sleep on one foot. They are both adjusting to their new surroundings and are loved and well feed with the proper diet. Remember that these are captive birds not the usual pets , so give them extra attention and love and they will worm up to you both. They are extremely intelligent Birds.


At my zoo here in Costa Rica I have care of 750 different species. The Blue and gold Macaw is a study all on its own. We have about 75  Macaws in all and a staff of 120 people to monitor their behavior and eating habits etc. Go to www.zooave.com . If you are sick or unhappy these birds will cry with you and on the other hand will laugh at the appropriate times. I have two on prosaic and one on zoloft. It works a little bit but they are lonely to human companionship mostly. As a rehab for animals and birds we find that the ones with the most human contact are least likely to return to the wild. This is what we try to achieve although unpractical in most respects.


They sound healthy and loved I think they will be fine in time. Watch their food and water intake as well as their behavior toward each other and toward yourselves . IF you see radical changes in any area please seek advice on Macaws by researching a rehabilitation center specifically for them. Don't forget a good BIRD VET. They are hard to find


Thanks for the question, all the best


Monika

Expert:  Critter doctor replied 12 years ago.

  I checked over my notes and found an article called "Waisting Syndrome" . It is due to a bad diet and low nutrition. They do not know why they fall although as the name suggests they are waisting away.


Look in the phone book for a VET specialist in exotic birds. Or call to get a reference. Take the bird to the doctor soon as you can to get some supplemental medications and vitamins. Depending on his condition I sometimes give injections in the chest the only place they have mussel. But if he is very skinny than forced pills or inconvenience. Getting a little needle in the vain ( if you can find one ) is the best treatment but the most difficult task.


Once a bird goes down it is almost impossible to resuscitate them. Don't let him get dehydrated. Go now


Best regards


Monika

Expert:  ZooCVT replied 12 years ago.
 
I would still stress having them checked for zinc toxicity along with
the other bloodwork. I work in a rainforest with over 22 species of
birds and can't tell you how easily they will find the smallest piece
of metal and ingest it causing problems. Its a simple enough test and
is easily rectified.

Good Luck!



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