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Patricia, Parrot Consultant
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 1759
Experience:  Published author, free lance bird behaviorist, adviser to the parrots at Sarasota Jungle Gardens.
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My love bird is breathing rapidlly and making a raspy ...

Resolved Question:

My love bird is breathing rapidlly and making a raspy sound, he seems unsturdy when he stands on the bars. He is eating and drinking water. I think he has a cold. What can I do for him?
Submitted: 10 years ago.
Category: Pet
Expert:  Patricia replied 10 years ago.

Hello. Your Lovie is in trouble and he needs a vet, sooner rather than later. It definitely sounds like a respiratory issue and it has been going on for some time. One of the problems we have with our parrots is their very strong instinct to mask all symptoms of illness or injury, from us. In the wild, they are prey and to show weakness is to get kicked out of the safety of the flock. By the time we see any symptoms, it's because they are too sick and too weak to keep up the pretense. A couple of the first things we will be able to notice is a change in behavior, (less playing, less or no talking, etc.), any change in the appearance of the droppings that lasts more than 24 hours and cannot be accounted for by diet. For example, a lot of fruits or veggies one day can make more runny droppings but it should not last more than a day, then go back to normal. Other symptoms are sitting with feathers fluffed, giving up the perches and staying on the cage floor, and sleeping an inordinate amount of time. Birds don't actually catch colds. It is not a problem they have. It's impossible to say if this has been building for awhile and you are only just now able to see the symptoms, or whether he has had a sudden exposure to something that has compromised his respiratory system. Just to mention a few of the things that may have caused it are the use of any kind of aerosol product, any kind of air freshener, over heating of a piece of non stick cookware, burning candles, cigarette smoke, almost any commercial cleaning product and numerous other possibilities. If you recognize any of those as a possibility, it will help the vet make a quicker diagnosis and to determine proper treatment. But, figuring out the cause doesn't keep you from needing to get him in asap. Almost all good avian vets will have 24/7 emergency clinic services available. In case you do not have one, I'm going to give you some links to help locate one. In the meantime, you need to make sure he does not get chilled and you need to keep him as quiet and stress free as possible. I suggest covering the top and three sides of the cage and keep household traffic to a minimum near the cage. Please start right away trying to get him in. If you need anything else, let me know. Patricia

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