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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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I have an elderly ringneck dove that has a blackened beak. I

Customer Question

Hello Dr. Pat. I have an elderly ringneck dove that has a blackened beak. I am looking for help. Is there a charge for your assistance?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
are you there Dr. Pat?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
She is an elderly ringneck dove. Her beak is blackened. This started in June, I took her to an avian vet and they thought it was an injury. It is not. They gave her antibiotic and it resolved. However, it is back and she was doing poorly. I gave her more antibiotic and she is getting better. But I would like to know what this problem is. I can send a photo
Expert:  Dr. Pat replied 1 year ago.

I am deeply sorry for the delay. I have been away.

Unfortunately I have no control over the charging structure at JA, and you will be charged regardless.

Yes, please send a photo and a detailed description of the beak.

Also let me know her diet and caging situation.

What antibiotic was used, and were you given a diagnosis at the time?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. I feed her Hagen Dove seed and supplement with Kaytee molting and conditioning powder and I also add a bit of sprulina to her seed and powdered probiotic. the antibiotic is: Trimethroprim/sulfa. The diagnosis from the avian vet was that it was an injury. That was in June. That was not correct as the blackness on her beak comes and goes. It became bad last week. It looked like I was going to lose her. She was weak and puffed up. I restarted the antibiotic and she has responded to it and is much better although the black on her beak remains. She lives a a good sized cage that is kept clean and is allowed out of her cage twice per day. I am adding a photo:
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I gave you the information you asked for in your questions and I'm still waiting to hear your answer. Thank you.
Expert:  Dr. Pat replied 1 year ago.
It looks to me as if some of the black on the edges would rub off. Is that so? Check the under side of wings and tail for broken blood feathers/dried blood.
Can her beak close all the way normally? or is this just a camera view?
Blackish discoloration under the surface of the beak can be related to liver disease. It represents bleeding/clotting disorder and the black is bruising under the beak. I would suggest a second-opinion and basic lab work a bird experienced vet.
I personally never use trimethoprim sulfa; it has bad side effects, and in all of my patients tested (about 90%) bacteria are resistant.
For liver issues, I do lab work to find out what is going on, injections of very specific antibiotics, and usually lactulose and dietary management if so indicated.
There are many other possibilities and that is why the lab work is important.
It is not a good idea to use old antibiotics. Some can actually become toxic with age and it is very risky.