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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 29730
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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Yellow headed Amazon. 26 years. Put in outside cage happy

Customer Question

Yellow headed Amazon. 26 years. Put in outside cage happy talking. when I got home she was sluggish and not talking. This morning she was very quiet and drinking water and throwing it up. She is now going to the bottom of her cage.  Her eyes are bright but not normal.

Sometimes her feathers are ruffled more so than normal.  Ruffled for a longer periods of time. She also seems to be swaying her head not fast but very slow.

Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.

I'm sorry to hear of this with her. Those are very serious symptoms of illness if only because our birds don't appear ill until they're very ill. This is a protective mechanism because ill-appearing birds are attacked by other birds in the wild. Her lethargy, regurgitating/vomiting, and head motion (tremor?) are important symptoms but they're not pathognomonic (specifically indicative) of any one disorder. Unfortunately, the symptoms you've mentioned can indicate any number of illnesses or health issues. In avian medicine, there's rarely one cause of a condition, so we usually begin with a list of differential diagnoses and use lab tests and physical exams to differentiate. With this in mind, your best course of action is to reach out to an avian-oriented veterinarian (please see here: for help in differentiating the various causes of what you're seeing. Veterinarians can perform a physical exam and run diagnostic tests, including X-rays, to distinguish between the various etiologies. Until she can be attended to, her environment should be heated up to 80F by means of a 100W bulb shined into a partially covered "hospital" cage (a cage separated away from other birds in your aviary). Perches should be removed and her food and water placed on the bottom of her cage along with her. Have you noticed any other symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, nasal discharge, increased respiratory rate, or diarrhea? What has her diet consisted of?