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Dr. Bob
Dr. Bob, Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 7938
Experience:  35 years in general practice, including avian.
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My canary has sore legs. Have tried scaly leg treatment and

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My canary has sore legs. Have tried scaly leg treatment and moisturising with petroleum jelly. He still sits with one leg tucked up. Hes starting to look miserable too. I live on an Island so a vet visit is out of the question. Thanks.
Hello, I'm Dr. Bob.
Have you seen mites?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I haven,t seen anything crawling on him but last time I caught him I ended up with what looked like dry skin on my fingers. His legs look like my hands when I have dermatitus and the skin has dried out. He,s eating but a little bit fluffed up.
Hello again!
Does he pick or chew at his legs?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
He doesn,t pick so much as just clean his feathers alot. I get what appears to be dead skin on my fingers when I catch him almost like dry dermatitus hands. He,s eating and drinking but not having a bath which he used to love. My female canary is not showing any symptoms at all. Unfortunately I don,t have a spare cage at the moment. Thanks
Okay, thank you!
The only thing I can think of that would cause the problems you're seeing in both canaries and humans are Dermanyssus mites. The common name is "red mites".
These don't actually live on the bird, but inhabit their cage and come out at night when they're roosting to bite them and cause reactions in their feet and legs.
The mites live in recesses in the cage and even under the droppings during the day.
These are tiny red spider like little creatures, very hard to find.
You may be able to actually observe them on the perch at night with a light and magnification.
The best treatment is a recently discontinued product which still may be available online, Frontline spray (fipronil) a short spray under each wing and the bird is protected, but the premises must be disinfected also to prevent reinfestation..
If you don't have a spare cage, I would recommend treating both birds and spraying the cage thoroughly when they out of it, then rinsing with very hot water.
If you can't get Frontline, a dog and cat flea control product by the way, then a bird mite spray from a pet store or online is second choice.
Not being able to examine the bird puts me at a distinct disadvantage, but this is my best guess at what is going on, considering all the facts you've presented.
If you should have further questions, please let me know.
Best regards,
Dr. Bob
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