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Dr. Pat
Dr. Pat, Bird Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 3596
Experience:  25+ years working primarily or exclusively with birds
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Dr. Pat, I have a parrotlet who is approximately six-months-old.

Customer Question

Hi Dr. Pat, I have a parrotlet who is approximately six-months-old. Ordinarily he is quite active of course, but since this morning he has shown difficulty perching and walking on flat surfaces. Seems there is some weakness in the right foot. He is still affectionate, he is eating, preening, and he does not show weakness when flying. We are just holding him, and keeping him warm. He is ordinarily quite a talker but not today. i am thinking that he may have injured himself in his cage, but I am not sure. I hope that you can advise me. Thank you so much. Kindest regards, heather
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Pat replied 2 years ago.
Cage and toy injuries are very common, and even if you do not see outward signs, they can have spinal, hip, leg, nerve, internal and other injuries. The best thing is to keep him confined (on you or in a special set up when not on you). You should have him examined by a vet familiar with parrotlets ASAP. Having one little crippled parrotlet myself, I can tell you that they are very tough and if he is showing any problems at all, he really is in trouble. Can you tell me more about the bird?​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? If you feel comfortable with it, examine the bird thoroughly, using gentle restraint via washcloth or hand towel: do not restrict the chest or hold around the body. Check the eyes, nostrils, mouth and beak if possible, having a good look in there for mucus, redness, masses or anything else unusual. Palpate the tummy for pain, fluid, lumps or anything else (eggs, if female or unknown). Check all the joints for swelling, pain, and mobility. The feathers should be parted to view the skin, muscles and skeleton below; this can be done using a q-tip with isopropyl alcohol or KY gel. Look for bruising, lacerations, injured feathers. Your job is to keep the bird warm, safe, quiet, and confined; and to provide adequate hydration and calories.Move the bird to a box or carrier with soft towels in the bottom, no perch, and food and water in low bowls that can be reached easily. Put the whole thing on a heating pad on low or medium. Check it frequently, no overheating allowed! Keep the unit partially covered, warm and quiet. White paper towels or white cloth towels will show the true color of the droppings. Small animal/reptile boxes are great for this purpose.The bird, bowls and unit must be kept very clean. Here are some helpful links: not try to force food or water. Pedialyte or electrolyte replacer can help but many birds do not like them; when in doubt, plain warm water is best. They can hydrate from oral fluids almost as quickly as IV if the GI is functioning properly. You can offer warm cooked rice, pancakes, cornbread, grapes, melon, greens in addition to normal food. Where are you located?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Dr. Pat, Thank you for a quick response. I actually have done all of the things that you suggested already. I have made a little nesting box with a heat pad and white towel. Stools look normal. Nares, beak, wings are all fine. The tummy is also normal. His usual diet is Volkmann mix for parrotlets, along with fresh vegetables, and millet. He is eating his seeds, yet does not seem to be as interested in the veggies. Oh, and yes he likes peanuts, and has shown a lot of interest in them today. So this has only been going on since this morning. We acquired him from a breeder in Santa Ana. We live in San Pedro, part of Los Angeles. I have two avian vets that I like, one up on the Westside (about 30 miles from here), and another who is a little farther away. I will see if Dr. Schwartz is in tomorrow. Otherwise is there someone that you could recommend close to the 90732 zip code?
Expert:  Dr. Pat replied 2 years ago.
He may just need some pain control if he hurt himself. But good you have a vet you like, that is a good idea to have him seen. I would stick with a vet you like or that knows these little parrots.I would recommend s discussion about diet, because parrotlets can become fairly obese on a seed diet. They like Harrison's high potency, and TOP pellets, plus plenty of fresh veg.ConversionDietary conversion is a very stressful time. It is up caretakers to observe EVERY bird and make sure there is poop and food consumption. No poop = no food intake. It may take 2 days or 2 months. It can be very frustrating and stressful for all concerned; however, I have never failed to see a psittacine convert to pellets. Conversion DietYAM 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
PELLETS Harrison's and T.O.P.)

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.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you, ***** ***** I put in a request to see Dr. Schwartz or one of his colleagues sometime tomorrow. Seems the little guy probably is in pain. He is quite content to cuddle with us, though, which is nice. We sort of cup our hand around him while he rests. I am going to have him sleep in my bedroom with me tonight, with a cage around his little heat pad nest box. I'll be sure to inquire also about the diet. Thank you again. Kindest regards, heather
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Dr. Pat, I took Bowie to the vet. She gave us some Metcam, and we are just playing wait and see now. You mentioned that you have a crippled parrotlet. Does he have perching ability? If not, how have you helped him adapt? Thanks so much.
Expert:  Dr. Pat replied 2 years ago.
My little bird is unable to perch due to very severe injuries she received before I adopted her. She is housed in a net Reptarium, with soft bathtowel bedding and small plush toys for "perches". She has low bowls and plenty of toys, plus people to do her bidding.Here are some links that show suggestions:
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you, ***** ***** What is especially sad is that this little guy was quite the flying acrobat over the last few weeks and is so young. He is still attempting to fly and do all of the things he was able to do a couple of days ago. Thank goodness he still loves to cuddle, as that is all we are allowing him to do in his convalescence. We are just hoping for the best. Thank God for people like you. Veterinarians are the best people on the planet.
Expert:  Dr. Pat replied 2 years ago.
Give him some time, you can't keep a parrotlet down! Thank you. But really the best people on the planet have feathers.