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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 29738
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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G, found your page on the internet when doing a search about

Customer Question

Hi Dr. G, found your page on the internet when doing a search about canaries standing on one leg. My mother's male canary ia 4 years old and I noticed that the canary is on one leg most of the time, even when drinking water. The canary is also sleeping most of the days and occasionally will go eat something and go back to sleep. The canary keeps the left leg up (that's the leg with the metal band). At first glance, the leg doesn't seem irritated or swollen, but something is not right. My mother lives in area code 33172, just wondering how can I identify an avian vet around this area so that we can take the canary for a check-up. Thanks so much in advance for any advice in this regard.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

Please see here:

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

...or see

I would need to thoroughly examine Lino Lindo's leg from toes to hip. The chapped/dry skin is likely to represent hyperkeratosis in canaries and if the skin has cracked, this condition can be painful. A nontoxic oil is, indeed, indicated in an attempt to soften the hyperkeratotic skin. If your mother has had Lino Lindo for quite some time the scaly leg and face mite shouldn't be an important consideration. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish. It's late here now and I have to leave my computer but I promise to reply in the morning if need be.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you very much Dr. Salkin for your kind response. Unfortunately, there is no avian vet available in our area, so we may have to consult with the birds & pet store owner who sold us the canary for any additional check-up and advice. The canary is just 4 years old and was fairly active until few weeks ago. He used to poke on his metal band for a long time in the past, so we are not sure if it was bothering him or just was playing with it. The canary just spends a lot of time resting/sleeping but occasionally will wake up, drink some water, have some food and go back to its corner on one leg to sleep back again.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

I'm afraid that describes an ill canary. Here's a synopsis of what you might do...

It's important to note that once a canary acts ill they're quite ill. This is a protective mechanism because sick birds are attacked by other birds in the wild. Lino Lindo's symptoms of holding one leg up and somolence are important symptoms but they're not pathognomonic (specifically indicative) of any one disorder.

Until Lino Lindo can be attended to, please heat up his environment to 85F by means of a 100W bulb shined into his partially covered cage (not at night when he needs to rest) or by taping a heating pad set on its lowest setting to the sides of his cage. Remove his perches and put his food and water on the bottom of the cage along with him. Add a water soluble avian vitamin such as Oasis brand to his water at half of the recommended dose so as not to make his water distasteful. Add a calcium supplement such as Calcivet or Calciboost to his water. These supplements are available in pet/feed stores. Avoid over the counter antibiotics designed to be placed in his water. They won't be effective if only because an ill bird won't drink enough to medicate itself properly.

Nutritional imbalances are a common cause of illness in our pet birds. What has his diet consisted of, please? Seeds should compose less than 20% of his diet. Ideally, a balanced pelleted diet such as can be found here: or here: should be fed as well as hard boiled egg yolk, pancakes and cornbread, the tops of fresh greens, dairy products such as yogurt and cheese, fresh fruits such as apples, pears, melon, kiwi, and berries, vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, beets, asparagus, cabbage, sweet potato, and squash, and even tiny pieces of meat.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.