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Dr. Bruce
Dr. Bruce, Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 18794
Experience:  15 years of experience as a small animal veterinarian
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My canary was breathing heavy and making a clicking noise,

Customer Question

My canary was breathing heavy and making a clicking noise, and chirping very quietly.
We found him at the bottom of the cage but when we went to pick him up he flew, so we thought everything was okay.. but the noise and heavy breathing continued. So we picked him up, we place a drop of water on his beak and he passed away seconds later.
What do you think could've been the cause?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Bruce replied 5 years ago.

I'm very sorry to hear about your loss of this guy. Was Romeo eating and drinking well up till today? Any other birds in the house? Any new sprays used today or burning of Teflon pans? Weight loss?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Yes, everything seemed normal up until today.
He was in a cage with another bird, and she seems fine.
There are 3 other birds in separate cages.
Expert:  Dr. Bruce replied 5 years ago.
Every other bird is acting completely normal? Romeo had no nasal discharge? How long was he breathing heavily prior to passing?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Yes, all the other birds are normal.
He has had the clicking nose in the past before but it would usually just pass in a few minutes or so.
There was no nasal discharge.
Well he was fine yesterday, and we only noticed it about an hour before his passing.. so not 100% sure when it began ..
Expert:  Dr. Bruce replied 5 years ago.
OK. It is tough when one passes without any real long term clinical signs. The frustration with avian medicine is that some issues / illnesses are masked until they are extremely serious. They hide an illness as they either are successfully fighting it off, or till they can't get over it and then they really start to look bad. With such a sudden onset of signs and his passing, I would have to be worried about a cardiac issue. The clicking noise may be his way of dealing with some stress in his respiratory tract. The previous events of it may not have been as serious as this time around. His breathing heaving and being at the bottom of the cage was a very serious indication of how stressed his body was. His taking flight at that time was most likely his using his last reserves to get up off the bottom. You didn't facilitate his passing with the drop of water. His body was so stressed that he was past a point that he could continue. I would monitor the others for any issues with cere discharge, changes in stools, or appetite / drinking. It is good that they are all healthy at this time and I would hope they continue to be.
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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thanks for your answer.
Wish there was an answer to how to deal with the passing,
my birds are like children to me.
Expert:  Dr. Bruce replied 5 years ago.
The loss of any pet is like the loss of a family member. He has been a part of your life and that can't be overlooked. Some comfort is knowing that he passed quickly and didn't have a long, drawn out illness. Even though he's gone in physical form, I believe that he'll be with you in spirit. The memories you have will stay with you forever too!