.We have 2 adult male zebra finches. One has become frail, tremors and has lost feathers. They both scratch a bit, is that some kind of bird mite? How do I treat? But the smaller male seems to have something more serious. Help! Susan, mom to Fletcher & Lucky
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Hello, I'm Dr. Gregg and I will try to help you out. I am not a board certified avian expert but I am a small animal/exotic vet who has treated and kept birds for 35 years. Let me give you some thoughts and see if you think it helps. Birds, in general are difficult to diagnose because they tend to hide symptoms. It becomes more difficult with out the ability to see and touch them. While difficult in these tiny birds you will most likely need some basic laboratory tests (cbc fecal smear) as well as the help of a vet versed in treating birds. Your assessment that the bird who has tremors, lost weight and feather loss has a serious problem is correct. This is where the lab tests will help out. The feather issues may be mites but if you have not brought in new birds beforehand it is unlikely. There are other causes of itchy birds. What I would suggest is see if your vet would go with "tentative treatment" for bacterial infection or parasites. The antibiotic doxycycline would be my first choice with enrofloxacin being second. Either of these can cover a wide range of infections. The drug ivermectin is a good anti-parasiticide that can cover for internal parasites as well as external ones like mites. As with any sick bird it is important to keep them warm (85 degrees or more) and make sure they get some calories if they do not eat and water if they do not drink. I hope this helps you out and sorry your answer took so long. I was out of town until today. Good luck with the little peepers, I do love their sound. I will be happy to try to answer any further questions you have.