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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 30320
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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I think my 10 wk Old parakeet has a cold. He is eating a lot

Customer Question

I think my 10 wk Old parakeet has a cold. He is eating a lot and singing and seems pretty active, but he has labored breathing. I was told to get a clamp on light, that sick birds need to be warmed to about 90 degrees. That seems pretty hot. What is your advice
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner. 80F is sufficient and can be obtained by shining a 100W bulb into Kiwi's partially covered cage - not at night when he needs to rest. At nighttime, a heating pad set on its lowest setting and taped to the base of his cage should do.
More important, however, is a systemic antibiotic because he may well be suffering from a bacterial respiratory infection. Antibiotics designed to be placed in his water and available from pet stores won't be helpful; ill birds don't drink enough to medicate themselves. It's best to have an avian-oriented vet (please see here: take a look at Kiwi and prescribe an antibiotic you could administer directly into Kiwi's beak.
If you're not doing so already, please begin adding an avian vitamin/mineral solution to his water at half the recommended dose on the label. Primary seed eaters will become deficient in vitamins A, D3, and B12 and the mineral calcium. Vitamin A deficiency can cause symptoms suggestive of respiratory infection. When he's well, I'd like you to switch him to a mostly pelleted diet such as can be found here: or here:
Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish. I have to leave my computer for a couple of hours but promise to reply as soon as I return.