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Ask S. August Abbott, CAS Your Own Question
S. August Abbott, CAS
S. August Abbott, CAS, Certified Avian Specialist
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 7627
Experience:  Work w/Avian Vet; published bird care nutrition& behavior articles; consults, research
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I have an 9 month old galah who has in the last 4 days began

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i have an 9 month old galah who has in the last 4 days began to scratch more frequently and I'm noticing a rash like appearance around his eye. Not and angry rash but small red dots. He has visitors to his day cage on a regular basis (wild Galahs) and I'm wondering could he have caught something off them?
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Using the wrong medication for fleas can be dangerous. You should definitely talk to the Veterinarian. What is the bird's name?
Customer: Nettle
JA: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Nettle?
Customer: No, he seems happy in himself. nothing has changed in his daily routine but he has been more pushy for a scratch

I'm August Abbott, State Preserve worker; owner of an animal rescue&rehab. Give a few minutes to review & respond. We'll work together on this

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
ok

I'm sorry for the 'question bot' jumping to a conclusion that you suspected fleas or used meds for fleas. However, this brings me to asking whether or not you've seen any pests on him or have you used anything trying to treat him?

Also, does Nettle spend all of his time outside or just during the day? What sort of sleep spot has he got? Box, nest, perch, etc and describe the materials.

Have you ever noticed this before? Can you associate it with molting?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
He uses a day cage that is very large on his own. At night he has a 2 meter by 0.9 meter cage that he perch's in. He only uses the nesting box to play it is under the back deck and is well sheltered, in summer we wheel it inside as he hates the heat. But in saying this he spends on average 2 to 3 hours flying around the house when we finish work. I have not noticed anything crawling like mites or fleas. I have not treated any symptoms as yet as I am not sure what I am treating.
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I am aware of the mites that infest feathered animals as i have chickens also. But Nettle doesn't mix with them and is caged at the house, well away from them. He has a clean environment in both cages, but the out door cage has a sand base where the night cage is cement sheeting that is lined for easy cleaning.
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I have never seen this on him before and you also mentioned molting, we are coming out of our winter and yes we have had a few warm days in between cold days but I wouldn't think it would be enough to start a molt, or can they molt at any time?

Actually, mites are not as common as some product pushers would like people to think. I'm quite happy to hear that you already seem to know this

I'm also thrilled that you haven't just jumped into treating things and then wondering if he actually had them

So far you're impressing me as a phenomenal owner and this is a truly luck bird!

Frankly, I'm doubting this is an external parasite given your description of housing, so what does that leave us?

When we hear hoof beats, think horses, not zebras right? This might be an allergic reaction to something extraordinary happening in your environment. Even allergens well tolerated at other times in Nettle's life might be a problem at this time.

So, how's your weather been? How is the size of your poultry flock this year? Any pesticides sprayed anywhere around you?

------- And yes, birds molt year 'round with what's called a major molt twice a year; now (for you) is one of them.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
You might have hit on both a molt and the high winds associated with the warm days we have had. My hay fever has been an issue in the past week. Could this be the same for Nettle in bird terms?

Oh absolutely! While these birds aren't particularly known for showing allergic symptoms - some birds, like macaws, have full on symptoms including runny nares, sneezing and stuffy breathing.

Given that you're not seeing any changes in his eating habits, droppings are normal and behavior (save for the itching) is normal -- I'd say this is fine to monitor for the next week and with some environmental modifications let's see if we can alleviate it altogether.

I expect you're already meticulous about a clean roost - so how about an attempt to shelter him inside during windy or high allergen days. There are sites and apps that report on 'air quality' in almost every area of the world. Try one of these to know when it's absolutely necessary to bring him inside.

If you note the symptoms disappear after making these adjustments - chances are we've got it figured out

Of course I' duty bound to the bird to stress that if anything makes you think there's something really wrong - well, think zebras after all and get him to his doctor for at least an oral swab and blood labs

Now - let's also try pumping up his immunity with extra beta carotene rich foods like squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, kale and other dark green and dark orange vegetables.

If he's not keen on the actual food in its natural form, I have tremendous success offering human baby food versions (all natural of course)

Sound good? I'm here for you and Nettle all the way. So I hope you'll keep me up on what's going on as you try the different options.

S. August Abbott, CAS and other Bird Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Awesome, I'll keep him inside on the windy days, he already eats fresh fruit and vegies now so no need for baby food although he'd probably prefer it as he loves plain mash potato but the kale he doesn't touch so that will be a waste to try again but lets see how we go. Thank you so much, even if its for the peace of mind and making me more diligent with him on my hay fever bad days. Thank you so much
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
P.S I won't hesitate to take him to the vet if it gets worse and shows no sign of improvement. This was a less stressful way for both of us at this early stage of my concerns

I'm honored to work with you. So VERY nice to find an owner who is knowledgeable AND willing to do whatever it takes. After all, these birds give so much and ask so little. You are doing GREAT and I thank you

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I've kept Nettle inside since we last chatted and there was improvement. Then a Zebra turned up. I have recently purchased a new perfume, and don't wear it everyday. But I had noticed the random day I had it on Nettle's rash flared up when it was almost gone. I tried to back track what was different and that was the only thing that was different that day. So I haven't worn it since and again the rash has almost gone. He's never around when I spray it but as he is on my person every moment he can when he's inside. I would be very confident that may be a big trigger to the rash. Oh well it looks like my sister is about to get a very expensive bottle of Jimmy Choo perfume.