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Dr. Pat
Dr. Pat, Bird Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 4244
Experience:  25+ years working primarily or exclusively with birds
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Dr. Pat, I hope you are doing well. I would like your help

Customer Question

Hi Dr. Pat, I hope you are doing well. I would like your help but I am disabled and on a very tight budget - so I don't really have any money at this time to pay for your Services. May I ask a question free of charge? That would be great. My name is ***** ***** my Lovebird's name is Chico.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hello, I'm not sure what happened? I was talking to Vet. Dr. Pat and I made my $5.00 deposit using my MasterCard and I submitted the payment, etc. and asked my question and then that was it. What happens now? Please help! Thank you.
Expert:  Dr. Pat replied 2 years ago.
Greetings, I am Dr. Pat. I have worked with birds for many years. I will do my best to help you.
I'm sorry, I have no control over the fee structure, charging or fees. I only answer questions.
Where exactly is this sore located? Wingpit? Elbow? Top side? Can you please upload a photo?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Okay - I made the $5.00 deposit on my MasterCard and I will pay the other $23.00 AFTER you answer my question. However, right now I have to run out for my own doctor's appt. but when I come back - I will give you more details of the problem and try to take a photo of the area and then upload it and send it to you. I will be in touch again in a couple of hours. Thanks for your time. Please let me know if this is going to be a problem.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I am following up to the question that I asked earlier. I have a Lovebird with a sore/bump on his wing and you asked me to clarify some information. Also, to send you a photo of the area. So here is that information. It is located on his right wing - on the top of the wing - closest to his neck. It just feels like a little "lump" and it is a bit red. He isn't biting it but it does seem to bother him a bit when I wet it and touch it. I will try to upload a photo.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Please Dr. Pat - respond when you can. I cannot afford to pay the full $28.00 UNTIL I receive a response from you as to what you think may be wrong with my Bird and whether or not I can help him myself or need to take him to a Vet. Patiently awaiting your response. Thank you, ***** ***** (*****@******.***)
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hello, I saw that you were online a little while ago yet I still haven't received a response. Yet I received a Receipt for the $28 from JustAnswer. So I'm curious as to what is going on? Could you please respond when you can. Thanks!
Expert:  Dr. Pat replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for the photos. I just got home from my volunteer job, I was not ignoring your response.
At the vet visit, were there any problems?
I think I see the area in question. Is there a scab or broken feathers in there? A lot of new feathers surrounding, so is there a possibility of an injury, say, a week ago? other birds/pets/children/etc?
New feathers can be very sensitive, so that might be at least part of the problem.
Expert:  Dr. Pat replied 2 years ago.
Can you tell me more about Chico?​
How long has this been going on?
How long have you had him?
Where is he from?
Any accidents or trauma?
Interactions with other birds/pets/children/guests?
What is the usual diet? has it changed recently?
Has the bird gotten into anything? Chewed electrical wires?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hello, No, at the Vet visit about a month or so ago - he was fine. There weren't any problems. I noticed the "lump"/sore about a week ago right after I had him boarded at a Bird Breeder's place because I was away for a few days. However, he was kept in his own cage while there and didn't have any interaction with the other birds. He is kept alone in his cage and there are no children living with us. I got him from a reputable Bird Pet Store back on Feb. 25th of this year. There haven't been any accidents or trauma that I am aware of. When he comes out of the cage - he is very attached to me. He doesn't really fly around that much - they did clip his wings while he was away boarding. He doesn't generally run around the house or get into anything. When he is out - he is usually on my shoulder. His usual diet is a mix of dried green veggies that come in a bag at the pet store - only because I tried giving him a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables for about 2 months after I got him and he didn't eat any of it. He also eats a bagged mix of dried fruits and raisins. Both things are combined each morning with a Bird Seed Mix that the Owner of the Pet Store where I bought him - told me to buy. It has the "usual" seeds as well as pellets, raisins, pretzels, uncooked pasta, sunflower seeds, etc. I also give him a little bit of Millet Spray as a treat each day but I try to get the Sprays that have a fruit or vegetable component to them. I don't give him any grit. He has access all the time to a Mineral Block (Strawberry flavored and shaped) and a typical Cuttlebone. Nothing has changed recently. I give him fresh water at least 2 to 3 times a day with a couple of drops of organic apple cider vinegar mixed in. I also give him a vitamin supplement - a couple of drops - mixed in with his daily food. He has not gotten into anything or chewed any electrical wires that I am aware of. I take very good care of him. The only thing that he should be getting and that I'm trying to give him - is the fresh fruits and vegetables but he isn't interested despite my efforts. I told the Vet. this during his recent visit and she told me to just keep on trying different things, etc.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hello Dr. Pat, I never received an Answer to my initial question. I answered the questions to the last message that you sent to me yesterday evening. You asked a lot of questions about my Lovebird and I answered your questions but then I never received a response from you. Also, you didn't really tell me what you think may be wrong with Chico and whether or not I should be taking him to see the Vet again. What happened? Is everything okay? I received an e-mail asking me to rate your Service. But I won't do this until I feel that I've gotten a satisfactory answer to my very first, initial question. Please help!
Expert:  Dr. Pat replied 2 years ago.
Yes, he should see a vet again.
Your original question was if this could be no charge ("May I ask a question free of charge?") then the next question was "Can you help?", so you have to forgive my confusion.
I cannot help if I do not know what is going on--hence the nosy questions.
Birds from pet stores, no matter how reputable, can be exposed to a number of problems. Your vet should have tested for Polyoma and Borna Virus, Clamdydiophila, and depending on your geographic locqation, possibly other common pathogens. ALL can affect the feathers.
The feathers and/or skin need to be examined closely, in person.
Feather issues can be caused by a multitude of things, including bacterial skin infection, viruses, fungal infections, allergies, metal poisoning, hormonal flux, psychological or combination of these factors. The difficulty is diagnosing the problems and assigning an intelligent treatment plan. Your vet will want to run a number of tests so that appropriate medications can be prescribed. Inflammatory skin/follicle disease is common. The causes can include local infection, metabolic problems, or even intestinal parasites. It can also be a prime area for even more serious problems like skin cancer. An avian-experienced vet should take a look at the bird, and run some tests.
If this were my patient, and money no object, I would start with complete fecal analysis and direct smear, stained with Sedi-stain and unstained for multiple parasites, fungi, spirals; direct smear stained with Sedi-stain and unstained of the oral cavity and feather pulp; bacterial culture and sensitivity of the feather pulp, feces and choana. Depending on the case I might do a fungal culture. Routine blood work is necessary to rule out other issues. There are MANY DNA/RNA tests for bird diseases--and testing for Borna Virus would be a good idea. Ultrasound is often more informative than radiographs and does not require anesthesia (ask your vet about this option). Generally I start them out on medications as indicated by the tests.Generally I start them out on injectable antibiotics and an anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen.
Here are a few suggestions that I give everyone: important!
The following guidelines help with basic issues such as nutrition, obesity, good immune status. Surprising how the following can make a bird healthy, and how infrequently birds are ill if they are on the following regimen. No amount of medicine is going to work if the birds' basic needs are not met.
​great resource link:​
Birds should be on a high-quality, preferably prescription, pelleted diet: I prefer High-potency Harrison's
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. Food and water dishes should be cleaned and changed daily. Keep one set cleaned while the other is in use.
Fresh, perishable food should be placed in separate food bowls. Remove fresh food from the cage after a couple of hours to avoid spoilage. Change cage papers daily, and clean the grate and tray weekly.
Clean food debris or droppings from toys and perches as needed (which can be as often as once a day).
Grit is not necessary for birds, and will cause digestive problems and death. The best sources of minerals (and vitamins) are leafy greens. 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.
Dietary Notes: You really mean no seeds?
Seeds in the diet are deficient in essential amino acids, calcium and vitamins. Seeds are very high in fat and low in almost every other nutrient. Think of seeds as rocket fuel: in the wild, extra fat has positive survival value. To alleviate the problem, you can feed your companion bird FRESH vegetables and pellets. Vegetables high in vitamin A include carrots, sweet potatoes, yams, dark leafy greens, and winter squash.
Organic only means commercial pesticides have been avoided, not that the product is free of pathogens or higher nutritional value.
Dried fruits (organic or not) contain preservatives and bacterial/fungal contaminant, a lot of sugar; they should not be given.
A quick note about dietary protein: most pet birds are herbivores or granivores. Their digestive system is very efficient at extracting amino acids and proteins from plant material. Their liver and kidneys use a different method of processing proteinaceous material than the mammalian system. Animal proteins are especially harmful (egg, meat, fish products).Overloading with protein, especially animal protein, will lead to severe kidney dysfunction, gout, calcium/phosphorus imbalance, reproductive disorders, feather-picking, and death. Pet birds should be offered a minimum amount of legumes (never give tofu), sprouts, or other high-protein plant material.
YAM BREAD (cornbread mix+cooked yam)1' cube per bird ​1-2 x ​daily
RICE MIX (cooked short-grain brown rice plus fresh veg)1/4 cup per bird daily
Entire leaves of greens poked through the cage wires or on branches
Corn wheels
Cooked yams or squash
Whole carrots, tops included
Half of apple and whole (opened but not peeled) banana poked on sticks (in the aviaries)
 Grapes, citrus, pomegranate, persimmon, etc. One small slice per bird. Put on twigs etc.
Weekly Maintenance
Clean the cage weekly. Wash the cage and perches with soap and rinse with water to remove organic matter.
Daily Observations to Keep Your Bird Healthy
Keeping your feathered friend healthy requires that you watch out for any problems and any changes from normal, including any changes in normal behavior. Be alert for any discharges, including those from nostrils, eyes, beak. Monitor the appearance of he droppings for changes in color or consistency. The vent should be clean with no matting of the feathers. The bottom of the feet should not have any wear points or sores. Watch for changes in the amount of food and water consumed. Observe the rate, rhythm and depth of several respirations and check to make sure there is no open-mouth breathing. If you observe any changes, consult your avian veterinarian immediately.
being hunted:
A bird could be stressed if subjected to constant observation (staring). Companion birds are preyed upon by raptors and other animals and are sensitive to extended periods of a watchful gaze. They may also panic when a hawk flies by, especially if their cage sits directly in front of a window. Large objects like balloons or an overhead lamp above their cage can have the same stressful, frightening affect.
Birds need some "down time" to nap and preen. They shouldn’t live in the busiest hallway or room all of the time. A sleeping cage in a quiet room may be helpful.
You may spray your bird in its cage or at the sink. A plant mister-type sprayer filled with tepid water works well. Spray a mist onto your bird to simulate rain. Special perches and gadgets can be used or you can put them up on the shower bar after bathing. However, caution should be used to make sure that the bird only comes in contact with water and not with soaps, shampoos or sharp objects. 

A shallow bowl of water may also be offered for bathing. Make sure it is heavy enough to not tip over when the bird perches on it.
Having a nice place to live is important for your companion bird. A well-designed and well-maintained cage sets the stage for a healthy environment and makes cleanup easier. You may want to consider one cage for daytime use and one sleeping cage at night in a quiet, darkened room.

When choosing a cage, they should be longer than they are tall because birds fly from side to side, not up and down.
Make sure the bar spacing is the appropriate width so your bird cannot squeeze its head between the bars to cause serious injury or even death. With larger birds, it is important for the bars to be strong enough so that they cannot bend them with their beaks. Avoid cages made with dipped galvanized metal as birds may peck at and ingest residual beads of metal, causing zinc or lead poisoning. Decorative cages made of wicker or basket materials cannot be sanitized properly and psittacine birds can chew out of them easily and escape.
Line the cage bottom with sheets of papers (newspaper, butcher paper or computer paper) and remove individual layers daily (or more frequently, if needed). Look at the bird’s droppings when cleaning the cage to make sure they are normal! If grates are used (allowing droppings and food to fall out of a bird’s reach), clean the tray at least weekly, but remember to change paper layers daily. Do not use shredded paper as a cage liner. Avoid nugget materials like corncob bedding, walnut shells, etc. Birds can ingest these, resulting in impaction. Some of these materials are highly toxic, and have heavy loads of bacterial and fungal spores.Finally, they hinder inspection of droppings, which is important in monitoring daily health.
Placement and Perch Types
Rope perches or cleaned, natural branches are best for perches.
Select a size appropriate for your bird. Their nails should reach about half around the perch and never all the way around. Inappropriate perches can harm foot health and lead to severe foot infections. When positioning perches, be sure that droppings will not fall into food and water dishes. Make sure they are placed in a comfortable location for your bird to perch high but allow them to be able to get to their food and water dishes.