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She is not moving much at the bottom of her cage. Sky, 3…

Customer Question
She is not moving...

She is not moving much at the bottom of her cage

Veterinarian's Assistant: I'll do all I can to help. Could be a lot of things that cause lethargy. The Expert will know how to help the bird. What is the bird's name and age?

Sky, 3 plus years

Veterinarian's Assistant: How old is Sky?

Not sure, we've had her this long. Was a birthday present to my daughter

Veterinarian's Assistant: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Sky?

She was at vet early in fall, doctor gave her a shot and then another a week later. Chest congestion

Submitted: 6 months ago.Category: Bird Veterinary
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Answered in 1 hour by:
12/24/2017
Bird Veterinarian: Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian replied 6 months ago
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 34,836
Experience: University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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Bird Veterinarian: Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian replied 6 months ago

I'm sorry to hear of this with Sky. Regretfully, you've described a critically ill bird. Which type of bird is Sky, please?

It's important to note that once a pet bird acts ill it's already quite ill and in need of the attention of an avian-oriented vet (please see here: www.aav.org). This is a protective mechanism because sick birds are attacked by other birds in the wild. Sky's symptoms of "bottom-dwelling" and lethargy are important symptoms but they're not pathognomonic (specifically indicative) of any one particular disorder. They’re signs of “sick bird syndrome” - part of an array of highly nonspecific clinical signs.

An avian-oriented vet might first treat symptomatically and supportively by providing supplemental fluids and electrolytes by needle and tube feeding a "recovery" food. Blood tests and cultures of Sky's choana - the slit between her oral cavity and nose - and cloaca (vent) may be taken. Whole body X-rays can be quite helpful as well.

Until Sky can be attended to, please heat up her environment to 85F by means of a 100W bulb shined into her partially covered cage (not at night when she needs to rest) or by taping a heating pad set on its lowest setting to the sides of her cage. Because she appears weakened remove her perches and put her food and water on the bottom of the cage along with her. Add a water soluble avian vitamin such as Oasis brand to her water at half of the recommended dose so as not to make her water distasteful. Add a calcium supplement such as Calcivet or Calciboost to her water. These supplements are available in pet/feed stores. Avoid over the counter antibiotics designed to be placed in her water. They won't be effective if only because an ill bird won't drink enough to medicate itself properly.

Nutritional imbalances are a common cause of illness in our pet birds. What has Sky's diet consisted of, please? 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: 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.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

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