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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 29006
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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I have an African Grey, Jambo is 17 years old...she has been

Customer Question

Hello,i have an African Grey, Jambo is 17 years old...she has been acting very different for the last couple of weeks...stays in her cage..bring her outbut she wants to go back..sits on her branches like she is roosting...wings down..she is eating and drinking but it almost seems like she is depressed...doesn't talk much...we did loose our little dog in October ..she was 16 and passed away...she used to call her all the time....I don't know, this just isn't like her...only thing she does do is to pick at her branches...any information would be appreciated...thank you Maryke
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

I'm sorry to hear of this with Jambo, Maryke. It's important to note that once an African Grey acts ill they're quite ill and in need of the attention of an avian-oriented vet (please see here: www.aav.org). This is a protective mechanism because sick birds are attacked by other birds in the wild. Jambo's symptoms of a change in behavior and lethargy are important symptoms but they're not pathognomonic (specifically indicative) of any one disorder.

An avian-oriented vet might first treat symptomatically and supportively by providing supplemental fluids and electrolytes by needle and tube feeding a "recovery" food. Blood tests and cultures of Jambo's choana - the slit between her oral cavity and nose - and cloaca (vent) may be taken.

Until she can be attended to, please heat up her environment to 85F by means of a 100W bulb shined into her partially covered cage (not at night when she needs to rest) or by taping a heating pad set on its lowest setting to the sides of her cage. If she appears weakened, remove her perches and put her food and water on the bottom of the cage along with her. Add a water soluble avian vitamin such as Oasis brand to her water at half of the recommended dose so as not to make her water distasteful. Add a calcium supplement such as Calcivet or Calciboost to her water. These supplements are available in pet/feed stores. Avoid over the counter antibiotics designed to be placed in her 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 Jambo's diet consisted of, please? Seeds should compose less than 20% of his diet. Ideally, a balanced pelleted diet such as can be found here: www.harrisonsbirdfoods.com or here: www.lafeber.com/pet-birds 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 the additional information and further questions or concerns if you wish.