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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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My lovebird is about 2 years old and he looks like he's dying.

Customer Question

My lovebird is about 2 years old and he looks like he's dying. He was eating fine earlier today and drinking fine but just now he threw up all his food and water.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Pat replied 2 years ago.
Is he still vomiting? Is he able to hold anything down at all?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? Chewed electrical wires? IMPORTANT Check the website for the feed you give, there have been many recalls; or check this link: signs are of a very sick bird, and not specific to any one disease. And that means it is not fair to you or the bird to guess, there are so many possibilities.You are going to need local help on this, and a scientific and solid diagnosis to find safe and effective treatment.The challenge is to find out exactly what is going on, since treatment will depend on careful and accurate diagnosis.Vomiting can be caused by almost anything, and it is very important to sift through the dozens of possibilities. Without a diagnosis, I cannot recommend any particular course of treatment, except good nursing care at home.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: IF he is not vomiting AND he is able to keep down a few drops of warm water:Do 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.Pet/feed store medications and home remedies are harmful, ineffective, immuno-suppressive, and make them much worse and may interfere with the veterinarian's diagnosis and treatment. Do not use them. Homeopathy and natureopathic techniques do not work in avians and can actually be very dangerous.I know it is expensive, but you may not have many home options, because the first thing you need a vet for is to find out what is going on. Treatment is only as good as the diagnosis. If you call around, you may find a vet to work within your means.I really must stress that you need a bird-experienced person, and not just a vet who advertises that they care for birds. You need to take your bird to see an avian-experienced veterinarian ASAP for complete examination, diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Check click on "find a vet"
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
He stopped vomiting and he's laying flat down with his eyes closed. He's breathing slowly. This just started this morning. I changed their water and he had his feathers fluffed so I took him out and tried to give him water but when he drank it it came out from under his bottom beak. I've had him for 2 years. Since he was a few months old. I got him from this aviary shop in Fort Lauderdale Florida. I've been feeding him a fruity type of food (I'm not sure of the name) ever since I got him. He fell from his perch to the bottom of the cage today and he got scared when I moved him out of the cage to put him somewhere quiet and he jumped out of my hands to the floor.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
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Expert:  Dr. Pat replied 2 years ago.
Did the vomiting happen before or after the fright incident?Did he not swallow or is there a hole under his chin? Was the fall because he lost consciousness, or was he weak? Phone is not possible due to poor reception in my area
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
It happened after he fell. But there is another hole under his chin and water would come out from there after he would drink. I think it might be because he's weak.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
He just tried to drink water and then he threw up again.
Expert:  Dr. Pat replied 2 years ago.
So let me get the timeline straight:He may have been weak, then he fell in the cage, then the floor, then the vomiting. When you saw the original fall, do you think he may have had a seizure? Is he conscious now, and can he sip warm water a drop at a time?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes that's correct. I just googled lovebird seizures and he had multiple ones in his little box in a 30 minute period. Now he looks to be asleep. I've tried giving him some warm water but he won't take it.
Expert:  Dr. Pat replied 2 years ago.
try putting a drop of warm sugar water on the crack of the beak. it will go in on its own. He will be very hypoglycemic at theis point. Seizures can be caused by toxins, calcium and other vitamin deficiency, epilepsy, trauma, liver problems, viral and bacterial infection. He needs to get to a vet so they can put him in oxygen and provide hydration by injection. He will need some diagnostic work as well, to find the cause and give the best treatment plan. Even for very severe seizures/stroke/epilepsy/brain injury, lovebirds are very tough and can regain functionality. But he needs emergency care right now, and then plenty of patience and recovery time after.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Well thank you for your time and all of your information. But he just died 5 minutes ago :(
Expert:  Dr. Pat replied 2 years ago.
Oh I am so very sorry! There have been a number of special lovebirds in my life. I am very sad to hear this.