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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 28931
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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Miss dr pearl my canary only sang wks he eats well I give m

Customer Question

miss dr pearl my canary only sang for 8 wks he eats well I give him seed song and molting food even started broccolli romain let and carrots he gets lite and I cover him at nite he has radio daily I even talk to him pls help im worried beverly(###) ###-####
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about your bird?
Customer: he jumps alot he eats all day but I noticied he was breathing with open mouth not alot maybe 3 minuets
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer where you can place your fully refundable $5 deposit (plus $13 after the Veterinarian responds). While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Veterinarian about your situation and connect you two.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner. We don't have many avian vets on this site. It's important to recognize that illness and malnutrion are the two most common causes of loss of song. His open mouth breathing - even transiently - is worrisome for respiratory infection and perhaps vitamin A deficiency which often underlies such infection because a deficiency in that vitamin can change the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract to their detriment.

It's important to note that once a canary acts ill they're quite ill and in need of the attention of an avian-oriented vet (please see here: This is a protective mechanism because sick birds are attacked by other birds in the wild. Pearl's symptoms are important symptoms but they're not pathognomonic (specifically indicative) of any one particular 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 Pearl's choana - the slit between his oral cavity and nose - and cloaca (vent) may be taken. Whole body X-rays can be quite helpful as well.

Until he 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. If he appears weakened 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. His diet sounds to be imbalanced. 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.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
this morning pearl tried to sing but has completely lost his voice but he is perky
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

Thank you. That's worrisome for inflammation in his laryngeal area - laryngitis, at least. Do your best to find an avian vet who can prescribe an oral antibiotic with which you would dose Pearl directly into his beak. Be sure to add vitamin A as found in an avian vitamin supplement as I mentioned. Please continue our conversation if you wish.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
we have an appt with an exotic vet on thurs I just hope he'll last till then thank u for ur advice
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

That's good to hear. Keep him warm as I directed. We need to limit the amount of energy he expends keeping his body temperature up. I can't set a follow-up in this venue so please return to our conversation - even after rating - with an update at your convenience.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Dr. Michael Salkin