Bird Veterinary

Have Bird Questions? Ask a Bird Specialist.

Ask a Veterinarian,
Get an Answer ASAP!

Bird Veterinary

I have a quaka parrot who has self mutilated, first time was

Customer Question
Hi I have a quaka...
Hi I have a quaka parrot who has self mutilated, first time was about a year ago on the tip of his wing, took him to a vet who gave me green cream, it fixed the wing after about a week, but now he has mutilated on his neck, it is about the size of a ten cent piece I have been putting the green cream on this mutilation but does not seem to be doing anything, he is nearly 10 years old, what can I do to treat this or what do you suggest ?
JA: I am Pearl, the Veterinarian's Assistant.
Customer: the green cream is called imflamol ??
JA: I'm sorry that imflamol is feeling poorly. What is wrong with imflamol?
Customer: multilation
JA: Where does imflamol seem to hurt?
Customer: on neck
JA: Can you see anything that looks wrong or different?
Customer: big sore
JA: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about imflamol?
Customer: his name is ***** ***** imflamol
Submitted: 1 year ago.Category: Bird Veterinary
Show More
Show Less
Ask Your Own Bird Veterinary Question
Answered in 2 hours by:
10/1/2016
Bird Veterinarian: Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian replied 1 year ago
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 31,799
Experience: University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
Verified

You're speaking with Dr. Michael Salkin. Welcome to JustAnswer. I'm currently typing up my reply.

Ask Your Own Bird Veterinary Question
Bird Veterinarian: Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian 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. You've asked a straightforward question but the answer is far from straighforward.

Feather damaging behavior directed toward the bird itself is one of the most common and vexing conditions that avian veterinarian can be presented with. The causes for this condition are often multifactorial and cascading in their effects. By the time I see such a bird the original inciting cause may have disappeared or been obscured by other complicating or reinforcing factors. It's important for caretakers to understand that a successful outcome may simply be a reduction rather than elimination of this behavior. Please take your time perusing the following. There's quite a bit of information to absorb. Please return to our conversation with further questions or concerns if you wish. I have to leave my computer for the night but I promise to reply in the morning if need be.

Feather damaging behavior may be due to either physical or behavioral problems and these are not mutually exclusive. Physical causes include the following:

Dermatitis: infectious (bacterial, fungal, viral); chemical (e.g., nicotine absorbed from the caretaker's fingers) or allergic (unproven at this time).

Folliculitis: bacterial, fungal, viral.

Malnutrition: Important; an all-seed diet often results in dry, flaky, skin that is predisposed to superficial infections and pruritis (itchiness). Nutritional imbalances are a common cause of illness in our pet birds. What has Charlie'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.

Environmental conditions: extremes of humidity, aerosol contamination and cigarette smoke.

Heavy metal toxicosis: often incriminated but not proven

Underlying painful lesions: liver pathology, osteomyelitis (bone infection), pancreatic disease, renal disease, neoplasia (cancer), underlying abscesses.

Reproductive activity, perhaps through ovarian and oviductal enlargement and liver changes in females might cause abdominal discomfort and feather damaging behavior of the thighs and ventral abdomen.

Parasites: mites and lice are overdiagnosed; the protozoan Giardia has only been associated with this behavior in cockatiels.

Psychological causes include the following:

Attention seeking behavior: this occurs when a pet uses feather damaging behavior to obtain attention from a caretaker when the caretaker isn't engaged in an activity with the bird.

Anxiety: anxiety disorders may have both biological and/or environmental causes. Improper socialization during the hand-rearing process may be reflected in an inability of such birds to cope with otherwise normal situations due to fear, real or imagined, of a person or situation that the bird is exposed to combined with a lack of self-confidence due to a history of undermining events. An example of this is severe wing clips in juvenile birds that are learning to fly. The resultant heavy falls to the ground may trigger feather damaging behavior. Separation anxiety is another disorder characterized by behavioral signs of distress (screaming, feather disruptive behavior) that occurs when the bird is left alone. These are a distress response to separation from the caretaker to whom the bird is attached.

Boredom: for captive birds with food provided in a dish every day, only 20% of the day is spent foraging and eating while the other 80% is spent socializing and grooming. When socializing opportunities are limited (e.g., the lone bird in a household where everyone is at work during the day), over-grooming may occur and feather damaging behavior results.

Compulsive disorders: compulsive grooming (grooming in excess of that required for its purpose and which interferes with normal behavior) is a good example. It can't be interrupted.

Displacement behaviors secondary to stressors: examples include unwanted exposure or contact with people; this behavior may be accompanied by aggression and fearfulness of humans.

The diagnosis is made through a thorough history which should focus heavily on the bird's interaction with its environment and the people and other animals around it. An avian vet (please see here: http://www.aavac.com.au/) should perform a detailed physical exam including diagnostics in the form of blood and urine tests and whole body X-rays. Skin biopsy, pathogen detection through cultures or PCR (DNA-based testing) may be recommended.

If a physical cause is unable to be determined and the patient's history supports it, a diagnosis of behavioral feather damaging can then be made. At this stage a specialist veterinary behaviorist should be considered. In general, the following is true when the timing and nature of feather damaging behavior ...

...occurs when caretaker is not present - separation anxiety and boredom should be considered.

...occurs when caretaker is present but not paying attention to the bird - attention seeking behavior should be considered.

...occurs when the bird interrupts other behavior to damage feathers - obsessive/compulsive disorder or true pruritis should be considered.

...occurs when the bird exhibits signs of unwarranted fear - anxiety or stress of generalized anxiety disorders should be considered.

...starts at an extremely young age; handfed bird - improper preening or poor early socialization should be considered.

...causes frayed and splintered feathers - suggests anxiety disorder, improper wing trim, feather trauma due to small cage.

...is seen in an overly bonded, sexually mature bird that displays sexual behaviors out of context - reproductively related.

Management

Elizabethan collars are rarely indicated unless self-mutilation and/or physical trauma is occurring (it is). Restraints may worsen the patient's anxiety state and aggravate the original problem.

Psychotherapeutic drugs may be of benefit. These include benzodiazepines (e.g., diazepam/Valium, haloperidol, tricyclic antidepressants such as clomipramine, SSRIs such as fluoxetine (Prozac). All are available through an avian vet. Applying ointments such as Imflamol (which contains two antibiotics, a glucocorticosteroid, an antifungal drug, allantoin, and vitamin A) should be avoided. Charlie's going to ingest those drugs while preening.

It must be ensured that stability and security are present in the bird's lifestyle at home. Anxiety disorders arising from fear of human interaction or fear of falling due to an inappropriate wing trim can lead to feather damaging behaviors. Triggering events that may have had a role in the development of feather damaging behavior such as changes in the household or a perceived lack of attention should be identified. Basic training is implemented and strengthened using a system of positive reinforcement. Once this has been achieved, training can be extended to guide more normal behaviors. 80% of the bird's day should be spent foraging for food, the remaining 20% on grooming and socializing activities. In practical terms this can be done by:

Providing foraging activities both with and without the caretaker being present. The bird may need to be taught how to participate in these activities as at first it might be afraid of new objects or activities.

Enhancing "normal" feather care through gentle misting with water and by providing other items that can be groomed in addition to the bird's feathers.

Developing more normal flock and social interaction. It's important to remember that it's essential to replace unwanted behaviors with more desirable behaviors; at no time should a behavioral void develop through removing an activity or interaction without replacing it with others.

Regular communication and follow-up evaluations with the avian vet and/or behaviorist are important. If the result is a healthy, well socialized bird that actively engages its environment and its human companions, the state of its plumage becomes less significant.

Thank you to Dr. Bob Doneley at the University of Queensland, Australia, for an excellent synopsis of this behavior which I freely excerpted here.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

Ask Your Own Bird Veterinary Question
Bird Veterinarian: Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian replied 1 year ago
Hi Colin,
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Dr. Michael Salkin
Ask Your Own Bird Veterinary Question
Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 31,799
31,799 Satisfied Customers
Experience: University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience

Dr. Michael Salkin is online now

A new question is answered every 9 seconds

How JustAnswer works:

  • Ask an ExpertExperts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional AnswerVia email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction GuaranteeRate the answer you receive.

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

It was so professional, so personally concerned (as we were) and you answered all of our questions. George and I are so happy that I found "JustAnswer" on my Google search -- you are now in my "Favorites" list! And, yes we do love our kitty - she makes our life complete!

Bev & GeorgeBoca Raton, FL

Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help.

Mary C.Freshfield, Liverpool, UK

This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!!

AlexLos Angeles, CA

Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult.

GPHesperia, CA

I couldn't be more satisfied! This is the site I will always come to when I need a second opinion.

JustinKernersville, NC

Just let me say that this encounter has been entirely professional and most helpful. I liked that I could ask additional questions and get answered in a very short turn around.

EstherWoodstock, NY

Thank you so much for taking your time and knowledge to support my concerns. Not only did you answer my questions, you even took it a step further with replying with more pertinent information I needed to know.

RobinElkton, Maryland

< Previous | Next >

Meet the Experts:

Dr. Pat

Dr. Pat

Bird Veterinarian

3,596 satisfied customers

25+ years working primarily or exclusively with birds

Dr. Bob

Dr. Bob

Veterinarian

2,853 satisfied customers

35 years in general practice, including avian.

Dr. MD Stafford

Dr. MD Stafford

Veterinarian

233 satisfied customers

20 years in private practice, contract veterinarian Dickerson Park Zoo and attending veterinarian Missouri State University

Fiona Steel

Fiona Steel

Veterinarian

224 satisfied customers

BVMS MRCVS

Dr. Bruce

Dr. Bruce

Veterinarian

220 satisfied customers

15 years of experience as a small animal veterinarian

allpetsdr

allpetsdr

Veterinarian

142 satisfied customers

I have been practicing for 10 years. I work with exotic pets, dogs, cats, small ruminants, camelids and pigs.

Dr_Kitty

Dr_Kitty

Bird Veterinarian

122 satisfied customers

Mostly experience with chickens and ducks.

< Previous | Next >

Related Bird Veterinary Questions
I found my cockatoo in the bottom of the Avery in heat
I found my cockatoo in the bottom of the Avery in heat distress. He is now calm and eating but can not stay on the perch. Will this resolve in time? … read more
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin
Veterinarian
31,799 satisfied customers
She has two eggs, she has no mate, can these possibly hatch?
she has laid two eggs, she has no mate, can these possibly hatch ? she sits on them faithfully, these are eggs #'s 3&4 this winter the first two broke … read more
Dr. B.
Dr. B.
Veterinary Degree (BVMS)
3,452 satisfied customers
I have a cockatiel, she layed eggs after a tragedy. I
I have a cockatiel, she layed eggs after a tragedy. I accidentally killed her sister. Anyway she has steadily sat on the eggs for almost 3 weeks. I noticed that she was not eating drinking or having b… read more
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin
Veterinarian
31,799 satisfied customers
My bird lost his heel and I️ can see his tongue he dosent
My bird lost his heel and I️ can see his tongue he dosent seem in pain but he can't eat nothing and I️m worried … read more
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin
Veterinarian
31,799 satisfied customers
I have a lovely new Alexandrine. She is very sweet and often
I have a lovely new Alexandrine. She is very sweet and often preens my fingers (so I know she's comfortable with my hands) and ear. I should mention also that she is very new to us having only being b… read more
Dr. Gwen
Dr. Gwen
Veterinarian
Post-Doctoral Degree
356 satisfied customers
My 4 week old cockatiel'crop doesn't feel completely empty
Hi my 4 week old cockatiel'crop doesn't feel completely empty before breakfast. But it didn't feel firm either. The crop does look quite flat though. Her appetite is still vet good. But there was once… read more
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin
Veterinarian
31,799 satisfied customers
Why do birds while dying have their wings out or mouth open?
Hello, Why do birds while dying have their wings out or mouth open? Do all birds die like this?… read more
Dr. Gwen
Dr. Gwen
Veterinarian
Post-Doctoral Degree
356 satisfied customers
He is about 7 years old. Seemed healthy until yesterday but
He is about 7 years old. Seemed healthy until yesterday but had seemed less enthusiastic about his bath and playing in the past 2 weeks. Still eating treats but not too interested in pellets. sitting … read more
Dr. Gwen
Dr. Gwen
Veterinarian
Post-Doctoral Degree
356 satisfied customers
My dove is missing feathers on his head around where his
My dove is missing feathers on his head around where his beak meets his head … read more
Scott Perry
Scott Perry
Veterinarian
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
1,524 satisfied customers
I JUST CUT MY CANARY'S TOENAILS AND ONE IS BLEEDING. WILL HE
i JUST CUT MY CANARY'S TOENAILS AND ONE IS BLEEDING. WILL HE BE OK? IS THERE ANYTHING CAN DO TO STOP THE BLEEDING? … read more
Dr. Schmidt
Dr. Schmidt
Associate Veterinarian
DVM
496 satisfied customers
Upsetting -- I live in NZ --- My bird escaped about 2 months
Upsetting -- I live in NZ --- My bird escaped about 2 months ago from his leash while we were outside. By sheer luck he was found and returned to me a week later. … read more
Scott Perry
Scott Perry
Veterinarian
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
1,524 satisfied customers
I have a leghorn rooster (cockerel) that has frostbite on
I have a leghorn rooster (cockerel) that has frostbite on tips of comb and wattles. We are in PA (it was a low of -2 and high of about 15 all week). There are 7 hens and 1 cockerel in the unheated coo… read more
Yankmedic911
Yankmedic911
Wildlife Veterinarian
Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine and
12 satisfied customers
He has a cancerous cyst under his wing. It's terminal and I
He has a cancerous cyst under his wing. It's terminal and I know that he's in pain. He's 24 years old. I just want to help him. … read more
Yankmedic911
Yankmedic911
Wildlife Veterinarian
Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine and
12 satisfied customers
Puffing feathers. Couple hours ago but eating and jumping
Puffing feathers. Couple hours ago but eating and jumping around … read more
Scott Perry
Scott Perry
Veterinarian
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
1,524 satisfied customers
I am not sure if my parakeet is egg bound or has a tumor
Hi! I am not sure if my parakeet is egg bound or has a tumor near her vent. She's still jumping around eating normally, etc. but has started to poke at and shake her bottom. … read more
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin
Veterinarian
31,799 satisfied customers
My old Roo has Favus, and I heard that I could use Monistat
My old Roo has Favus, and I heard that I could use Monistat to treat it, but I am not sure how to use it ( how much, how often, for how long? I rubbed Vaseline on him before knowing it was Favus and h… read more
Yankmedic911
Yankmedic911
Wildlife Veterinarian
Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine and
12 satisfied customers
My male parakeet has developed a small pinkish growth on the
Hi, my male parakeet Tony has developed a small pinkish growth on the left side of his beak. He seems to be perky and eats very well. His droppings are slightly liquid. What could be done about it? Th… read more
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin
Veterinarian
31,799 satisfied customers
Unending mycoplasma.several have died, breathing with
breathing with difficulty and gasping.produces some snoring like sound. … read more
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin
Veterinarian
31,799 satisfied customers
Disclaimer: Information in questions, answers, and other posts on this site ("Posts") comes from individual users, not JustAnswer; JustAnswer is not responsible for Posts. Posts are for general information, are not intended to substitute for informed professional advice (medical, legal, veterinary, financial, etc.), or to establish a professional-client relationship. The site and services are provided "as is" with no warranty or representations by JustAnswer regarding the qualifications of Experts. To see what credentials have been verified by a third-party service, please click on the "Verified" symbol in some Experts' profiles. JustAnswer is not intended or designed for EMERGENCY questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals.

Disclaimer: Information in questions, answers, and other posts on this site ("Posts") comes from individual users, not JustAnswer; JustAnswer is not responsible for Posts. Posts are for general information, are not intended to substitute for informed professional advice (medical, legal, veterinary, financial, etc.), or to establish a professional-client relationship. The site and services are provided "as is" with no warranty or representations by JustAnswer regarding the qualifications of Experts. To see what credentials have been verified by a third-party service, please click on the "Verified" symbol in some Experts' profiles. JustAnswer is not intended or designed for EMERGENCY questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals.

Show MoreShow Less

Ask Your Question

x