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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 30377
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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I have a 31 year cocktail..I took him to the vet he is

Customer Question

I have a 31 year cocktail..I took him to the vet he is lethargic muscle weakness and he is eating and drinking. the vet indicated he had some yeast in his dropping but still gave me a antibiotic called Enrofloxacin because she thinks he has a respiratory problem. He is not wheezing or nose running or sneezing! he's puffed out a bit and eyes are half closed so I know he is uncomfortable. If he has some candida in his system won't giving him an antibiotic worsen the problem does this Enrofloxacin have that tenancy do that?? I'm suppose to give it to him for 14 days I gave it to him yesterday he hates it!!! has a sweet taste to it and he hates taking it. give me your thoughts. And please be an avian doctor I need someone who is experienced with birdies
Thanks Diane
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

Diane, I'm sorry to hear of this with Flap. Is he truly 31 years of age? The previous record holders were 28 and 30 years of age.

To answer you directly, it's important to differentiate oval non-budding yeast of dietary origin in his droppings from large numbers (greater than 5 per high powered microscope field) of budding yeast which do consitute a significant infection. If such an infection is present, nystatin or one of the -azole antifungals should be prescribed. Enrofloxacin is a potent broad spectrum antibiotic often prescribed as presumptive therapy in ill birds because bacterial infections are all too common in these birds - both primary infections and infections secondary to another disease process but the administration of such an antibiotics does risk yeast overgrowth.

And therein lies the rub. Such a geriatric cockatiel is very likely to be suffering from an underlying disorder of the degenerative type - hepatic or renal insufficiency, systemic gout, or perhaps age-related malignancies. This is a patient that I would have drawn blood from and performed a basic diagnostic panel of blood (and urine) tests. I would have cultured Flap's cloaca and perhaps choana (the slit between his oral and nasal cavities). Whole body X-rays while anesthetized might be helpful as well although I would prefer to avoid anethetizing such as aged bird if at all possible.

At this time you don't have a definitive diagnosis for Flap's malaise. If he hasn't seen a avian vet (please see here:, it's important that he do so at your earliest convenience. He doesn't have much reserve as would a much younger bird have. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Your insight is much more than what I got from this Vet although she did suggest a blood work and then said we should wait until he is feeling better and stronger. there was not any suggestion about any other further testing. I don't know I'm very frustrated because he is old and grumpy I might add and he stopped eating for 36 hours I gave him some baby food and syringe it to him. surprised me and started eating his seed again. To put an old bird through so much testing and stress not sure what to do about that. How much do I want to put him through seems so hard to answer that question. I thought I would keep him on the antibiotic for a few days and see if there is any indication that he perks up. As far as the nystatin is concern is that something that I can do myself?
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

I understand your reticence and pragmatism at this time. I admit that I'd be looking for problems I'm not likely to be able to cure. I like the idea of the baby food; frankly, I'd give him anything he wants. (Don't tell me what I can eat when I'm 100 years old!) It's reasonable to see how the antibiotic affects him. No, the nystatin needs to be formulated and dosed down to a cockatiel's size by a vet and I don't want it given to my patient unless I confirm the presence of pathogenic yeast in any event.

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. You can bookmark this page for ease of return.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Yeah So I am glad you have been candid with me. Knowing that he has a plethora of problems really does not indicate that there is a treatment for him at this age. He's uncomfortable and it makes me sad. He naps most of the day. His quality of life is bland. I put him in a small open screened animal carrier so he can see all around. staying in the wash room where it is warmer air conditioned air. I just gave him the antibiotic he hates the tastes!!! I guess there is nothing else to do for at least a few days to see if this meds kick in. Am I to understand I can follow up without charge in a few days with you?
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

Yes, you can and I encourage you to do so. I'm chained to my computer by evil gnomes and so am usually quite prompt in responding.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Gnomes are nasty!! how do I do that bookmark this page? I'm leaving for out west in a few weeks to go flyfishing the guilt is already setting in!!
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

It depends upon which browser you're using. In chrome you can simply click on the star to the far right of your address bar, name the bookmark, and click "done". Go have fun and catch some fish to eat!

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
thanks I will go fishing. So I put you in bookmark and I hope I can contact you again in a few days if I did it right. If I do lose you thanks again always nice to communicate with a carrying Doctor.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

Sounds good. Thank you for kind words.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.
Hi Diane,
I'm just following up on our conversation about Flap. How is everything going?
Dr. Michael Salkin
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Michael
Flap died August 11........from a secondary situation not the illness per se. I was taking him out of his big cage to put him in the smaller one so I could watch him during the day see if he was eating and drinking. He seemed to have put on some weight and was eating plus eating some whole wheat bread I would give him and lettuce. In the cool of the evening I would put him back in the larger cage on the screened outside porch he liked that and felt at home in his old cage. But as I was trying to bring him out the day he died and put him into the smaller one he got away from me sure he thought I was going to give him more of that nasty biotic.....he has done this hundred times fluttered down to the grown he just can't fly anymore and lands or I break his fall so he does not injure himself. that did not happen I miss breaking the fall and he landed very hard this time I heard a pop and I knew immediately he was in trouble. I picked him up and he was gone in seconds. I do hope he is flying with his flock right now so sad.....thank you for all your help...I am getting to old for all this heart break!! even if he was a cranky pants surely one of the family so many years.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

Oh my goodness. My condolences for your loss of Flap. I appreciate your taking the time to let me know.