How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Dr. Pat Your Own Question
Dr. Pat
Dr. Pat, Bird Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 4244
Experience:  25+ years working primarily or exclusively with birds
Type Your Bird Veterinary Question Here...
Dr. Pat is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My African grey seems to lose s balance and he falls off s

Customer Question

My African grey seems to lose his balance and he falls off his perch often. He squats rather than stands upright. He sits with eyes closed or half closed and plumage puffed.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Pat replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for requesting me.

First, this is a serious emergency and you need to get him to a good bird vet IMMEDIATELY. What is your geographic location? I may be able to help with a list.

What you describe could be ANYTHING but it is very dangerous and serious situation. Treatment will entirely depend on what is causing these symptoms. In the meantime, supportive care is mandatory, and may save his life.

Being the weekend, you may have to nurse him through until Monday.

The list includes trauma and injury, toxins, accidents, infection, cardiovascular disease, fumes, metabolic issues, calcium problems, and many more.

These 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. Having a couple of Greys myself, I know how naughty they can be and how they can get into things.

Without a diagnosis, I cannot recommend any particular course of treatment, except good nursing care at home.

Can you tell me more about the bird?​

Male for certain?

How old is he?

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?

What is your geographic location and local weather?

Cooking, fumes, sprays, etc?

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:

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"

for members of AAV in your area or call your regular vet and see who they recommend; ask if they really have worked with birds a lot.

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; bacterial culture and sensitivity of the feces and choana. Depending on the case I might do a fungal culture. Routine blood work is necessary to rule out other issues. If there is any chance of heavy metal exposure, blood tests will help. There are MANY DNA/RNA tests for bird diseases. 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.

AAV recommended lab work

Your bird may need injectable fluids, calcium, antibiotics and many other medications. Act quickly and good luck.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
This is actually my parents bird I am watching while they're on vacation. They brought him here yesterday in this condition. Not certain he is male. He is 35 years old. This has been going on 3-4 days. They have had him since he was a baby. They got him from an exotic animal dealer. Fell off the perch. Thought he hit his eye because he keeps his left eye shut most of the time. Has interacted only with my two cockatiels since he arrived yesterday. Fruits, veggies, nuts, most people foods, eggs w/baby cereal, and this hasn't changed. He hasn't been into anything unusual. Sometimes he acts like everything is just fine, but only for about 5-10 minutes. We are in East Central Iowa. Weather is mid 80's and somewhat humid. He spends time outside every day when the weather is nice.
Expert:  Dr. Pat replied 1 year ago.

Let me clarify: he came to you in the condition you described?

Very important he get to a vet. If he is outdoor in the daytime, he could have been exposed to fumes or toxins, or even raccoons and their predatory action and also their droppings.

Go here to find a vet close by. You can search by zip, city, or state.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Mom has a large flower garden. Could it be an extra fragrant flower he was exposed to?
Expert:  Dr. Pat replied 1 year ago.

More likely garden chemicals/pesticides.

But he needs to get to a vet ASAP. He may need oxygen and ICU. Try to find someone open today, who has good bird experience.