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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 30273
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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My bird lovebird seems to be breathing heavy and making a

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Hi, my bird lovebird seems to be breathing heavy and making a clicking noice. Today my dog tried to attach her so I'm not sure if she is stressed or injured from that. I've only had her since Sunday.
JA: I'll do all I can to help. What is wrong with your bird?
Customer: I think she is breathing a little heavy, I hear a clicking. She just ate a lot and seems to be a little wet around her neck so I think she drank water. He feathers are plumped up. She is preening and scratching. My dog did try to attack her today, I don't think she is physically injured from the outside. Walks and moving her wings. Also, It's very dreary here today and it rained. No sun. I just got her Sunday so this is the first I've seen how she acts when it rains
JA: The Expert will know if your bird will be able to digest that. What is the bird's name?
Customer: Num Num,she is lovebird
JA: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about your bird?
Customer: no, I don't think so
Customer: replied 25 days ago.
I've added a photo below
Customer: replied 25 days ago.
I just took her out of her cage. she's on my finger. She's not clicking, feathers have gone down. She looks normal. i don't think she's breathing heavy now.

You're speaking with Dr. Michael Salkin. Welcome to JustAnswer. I'm currently typing up my reply. Please be patient. This may take a few minutes.

I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner. I'm pleased to hear that she has normalized but I need you to continue to monitor her as that clicking noise usually indicates infllammation of the syrinx - the area of her trachea (windpipe) synonymous with our larynx. That inflammation can have an infectious etiology and hypovitaminosis A (a lack of vitamin A in the diet) can be found concomitantly or be the sole factor in the inflammation. Be sure that her diet is optimal.

Seeds should compose less than 20% of her diet. A diet of mainly seed and nuts has excessive fat, carbohydrates, and phosphorus; marginal protein; adequate vitamin E, and are deficient in amino acids, calcium, available phosphorus, sodium, manganese, zinc, iron, vitamins A, D3 (necessary for efficient absorption of calcium), K, and B12, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, choline, and available niacin.  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 25 days ago.
Ok, thank you.
Even with all of this, today was the first day since Sunday that she eaten this much. I've been feeding her a Rainbow Cockatiel mix that I got at a birds only store. They mix it there. Do you think this mixture would be sufficient? If not I will look into pellets also. I did test the waters today and put a blueberry in her treat bowl. I don't think she has eaten it yet. Regarding all of these other human food suggestions, do I just add them to the treat bowl? How many times a week?
Also, today I realized we had a candle burning. Could this have caused the clicking and the inflammation? Today when I was searching the web I saw candles are bad for birds and I blew it out immediately. She seemed to get better after that.

Regretfully, I don't know what that mix consists of and keep in mind that birds who have become "seed junkies" may eschew everything in the mixes except the seeds. Yes, the human foods should always be available. You can rotate foods throughout the week so as to keep her interest up. Yes, any vapors, smoke, and aerosols can be harmful to birds. Please continue our conversation if you wish.

Customer: replied 25 days ago.
My only other question would be how do I transition her to a pellet diet? What ratio of pellet to her current mix should I start her at?

There are some good tricks to do that. Take a look here:

I have to leave my computer for the night but I promise to reply in the morning if need be.

Customer: replied 25 days ago.
Thank you for the help.

You're quite welcome. 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.

Dr. Michael Salkin and other Bird Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you

Thank you for your kind accept. I appreciate it.

Customer: replied 23 days ago.
Hi Dr. Salkin,
Num Num has been acting pretty normal but today I noticed her tail bobbing. I think I should get her to a vet for antibiotics.
She is not clicking.

Thank you for the update. Yes, tail bobbing is worrisome for respiratory compromise. A systemic antibiotic that you would give directly into her mouth would be prudent. See if you can find an avian vet ( near you.

Customer: replied 20 days ago.
Hi, she has been on antibiotics since Sunday. I think she is looking a little better but still bobbing the tail. The antibiotics are for 2 weeks. When do you think I will start seeing a difference?

I want to see a postiive response by halfway through the prescribed course of antibiotic; in this case a week after you first administered it.

positive, not postiive


I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?

Dr. Michael Salkin