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Dr. Lisa
Dr. Lisa, Small Animal/Avian Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1883
Experience:  26 yrs of small animal vet practice. Dog, cat and parrot caretaker for 35 yrs! Former Zookeeper
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My one year old English Budgie suddenly cant fly. Its like

Customer Question

My one year old English Budgie suddenly can't fly. It's like he has vertigo. He is eating and drinking and playing with toys but he goes in circles and sways his head from side to side. He wants to come out and be with us but when he tries to fly, he can't.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Pat replied 7 years ago.
He may have a serious brain or nerve problem, resulting from trauma, infection, calcium deficit, or even seizure or stroke. He needs to get to an avian-experienced veterinarian ASAP for complete examination, diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Check the link for members of AAV in your area or call your regular vet and see who they recommend.

Do not let him have extra activity, as he may injure himself or become exhausted and frightened. Move the bird to an aquarium, box or carrier with soft towels in the bottom, no perch, and food and water in low bowls that he can reach easily. Put the whole thing on a heating pad on low or medium. Keep him partially covered, warm and quiet.

Pet/feed store medications are harmful, ineffective, immuno-suppressive, and make them much worse and may interfere with the veterinarian's diagnosis and treatment. Do not use them.

It is really important that the cause of the problem be discovered; he may need injectable calcium, antibiotics, fluids, oxygen therapy and many other medications. Act quickly and good luck.

Here are some other things to keep in mind before, during and after diagnosis/treatment:

Birds should be on a high-quality, preferably prescription, pelleted diet. In addition, they should be offered dark leafy greens, cooked sweet potatoes, yams, squash, pumpkin; entire (tops and bottoms) fresh carrots and so forth. No seeds (and that means a mix, or millet, or sprays, etc etc.) and only healthy, low-fat high fiber people food. A dietary change should be closely monitored and supervised by your avian vet.

Birds should get 12-14 hours dark, quiet, uninterrupted sleep at night. Any less and they can suffer from sleep deprivation and associated illnesses. They should be covered or their cage placed in a dark room that is not used after they go to bed.

The cage material should be cleaned everyday, and twice a day if the bird is really messy. Paper towels, newspaper, bath towels are ok. Never use corn cob, sawdust, wood chips, or walnut shell.

Never give grit, gravel sandpaper or cement perches. A bird will eat those to excess when it is not feeling well or if there is a nutritional deficiency. They do not need it at all (an old myth from the poultry days, even poultry do not need it). It can cause an impaction and lead to serious or fatal consequences.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Relist: Inaccurate answer.
Every book and vet will tell you to feed your budgie seeds, fruit etc. We feed him seeds and spinach mostly. I think your answer was inaccurate as I've fed all my budgie and parakeets this diet.

The closest veterinarian on the list is over 200 miles away. Is there anything I can do myself because I can't take him in to see a vet.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I cannot go to a vet so I need some ideas of what I can do myself.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Relist: Answer quality.
I agree that in a perfect world every bird has a vet but I live in northern Minnesota in the middle of nowhere and the only vets here treat cattle. Again, what can I do for this poor little bird myself? I have raised birds for 40 years so I am comfortable with doing some things for them. Is there a medication or something I can give him?
Expert:  Dr. Lisa replied 7 years ago.



Your bird has a serious illness and there is nothing but supportive care that you can give him at home. We cannot recommend any medications because we do not have anything close to a diagnosis.


When we first started to keep birds as pets, all we knew was to feed them seeds and the lucky ones also got table scraps. Avian medicine has come a long way, and we now know that seeds, as the main course, are deficient in Calcium, Vitamin A, protein and micro-nutrients (to name a few). Therefore, we now feed pellet-based diets, and give seeds as treats.


I suggest you call the UM Vet College ( ) for a referral to an avian vet, or try to find someone from this list: .


I wish you good-luck with your little friend,

Dr. Lisa


Please click on the green ACCEPT so that I might be compensated for my time. Thank-you.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
All you did was tell me to call a veterinarian. You already told me they won't do anything without seeing the bird. I cannot see a vet so that is why I contacted you. I could look up vets who deal with birds on-line myself so your information was pretty much useless. Sorry but I don't see what I'm paying for.
Expert:  Dr. Lisa replied 7 years ago.

You are paying for the opinions of two professionals, who both made the recommendation that you see a vet. This is an 'information site'; we cannot diagnose problems or medicate without performing an actual exam on a patient.


You are paying for the information about a correct diet, as well as for the information concerning budgie longevity.


I am sorry that we cannot offer you more to help your bird, but I hope you can find someone close to see him. His problem may be easily treatable with the right medication.



Dr. Lisa

Dr. Lisa, Small Animal/Avian Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1883
Experience: 26 yrs of small animal vet practice. Dog, cat and parrot caretaker for 35 yrs! Former Zookeeper
Dr. Lisa and other Bird Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you