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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 28469
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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I am having issues with an Ocellated turkey that arrived to

Customer Question

I am having issues with an Ocellated turkey that arrived to me with what appeared to be a slightly lazy eye. After several days that nictating membrane seemed to be swelling and was covering nearly half of her eye. I began using saline solution on her eye under the impression that the eye had a contaminant in it from shipping or adjusting to her new environment. However after a few more days the eye has not necessarily increased in swelling, but the eye is now becoming closed over with a crusty appearance and the eye has started to gain a hazy appearance. I have also been using vetericyn gel in between the saline rinses as well. I have a photo of the bird when the issue started that I will gladly send to you as well.
JA: I'll do all I can to help. Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about the bird?
Customer: I'm currently at a whits end with this because the veterinarians in our area are not used to dealing with the exotic bird market. They are more used to production bird operations where it is more required to cull the bird and bring it in for testing. I do not have that luxury. I am willing to try to do whatever I need to in order to save this bird. Also, I have noticed no sneezing, or mucus coming from the nostrils of this bird. Also, I do not smell any odor coming from the infected eye as well. The bird seems to have good energy levels and also appears to be eating. She is just somewhat clumsy due to only having the one eye.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 9 months ago.

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

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 9 months ago.

I understand your logistical constraints. In addition, there's little information concerning ocular diseases in poultry much less in turkeys whom are rarely treated as you mentioned. Important differentials for such an eye are trauma, eye worm (Oxyspiruriasis/uncommon), and an infectious conjunctivitis by any number of bacteria and respiratory viruses. In some cases, the conjunctivitis is found to be in conjunction with an infection of the infraorbital sinus associated with the affected eye.

Pragmatically speaking, you should wash the eye out thoroughly with normal saline or artificial tears and look carefully for the thin eyeworm squirming around in the tear film. If none are visible as I would expect, initiating an over the counter ophthalmic antibiotic ointment such as Terramycin (please see here: available in many pet/feed stores or online at a dose of a "dab" placed into the eye thrice daily for a minimum of 10 days makes sense. If you do see additional respiratory symptoms arise, I would have you inject this turkey with tylosin available in the form of Tylan-50 and available in many feed stores and dosed at 20-30 mg/lb into the breast muscle once daily for 5-7 days.

I would pleased to look at the photo which you can upload by using the paperclip icon in the toolbar above your message box (if you can see that icon) or you can use an external app such as

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Thank you for your response. I was reading up on the terramycin effectiveness but didn't want to potentially over medicate. And I believe I just attached a photo to this stream as well. This was last Friday before the eye began to form the crust and shut conpletely
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 9 months ago.

Thank you! There's a significant conjunctivitis affecting the nictitating membrane. See if you can look under that membrane by carefully lifting it up with a cotton-tip applicator (Q-tip). Look for foreign material, corneal trauma, and worms. The Terramycin ophthalmic ointment is well-tolerated. You needn't worry about over-medicating. It should take the place of the Vetericyn which acts as a disinfectant but not as an effective antibiotic in these cases. Please continue our conversation if you wish.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I will do that as soon as I get home. If I do find evidence of worms, is the treatment still the same with the terramycin or should I use a different approach to medication?
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 9 months ago.

The worms can be manually removed with a cotton-tip applicator. Alternatively - most often when the worms are widespread in a flock - ivermectin can be dosed systemically. 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 9 months ago.
perfect. Thank you so much for all of your help! I tried to do a lot of self-help research and it begins to all look the same once you start digging too far into it. I will definitely follow up with any progress or issue. Thanks again.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 9 months ago.

You're quite welcome.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Good evening Doctor,I am sorry to be contacting you so late, but I wanted to follow up with the status of the bird. She has been undergoing treatment 2-3 times a day for the past week and I have seen only a very small amount of healing with the eye. She is now becoming weaker and her energy levels are diminishing. When I have been cleaning her eye recently, I have noticed a cloudy liquid being present in her eye after a few hours after being cleaned out. I also noticed a area of white present on her eye that wasn't there previously. Any suggestions on what I could try now?
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 9 months ago.

I suspect that her eye infection is just the tip of the iceberg. I would initiate a systemic antibiotic such as tylosin in the form of Tylan-50 available in many feed stores or online. Dosing is 20-30 mg/lb intramuscularly once daily for 5-7 days. The injectable solution can be given orally too but it's quite distasteful. That area of white on her eye is unclear to me. Unfortunately, I have to examine eyes hands-on. Ideally, she should be attended to by an avian vet (please see here: but I understand your logistical constraints.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I have seen Tylan 50 and I understand the injection methods. I will go ahead and schedule the veterinary appointment first thing in the morning and I will only administer medication if I can't get in right away. Thanks for the help
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 9 months ago.

I'm pleased to hear this. Please keep me posted.