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August Abbott, CAS
August Abbott, CAS, Certified Avian Specialist
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 7619
Experience:  Cert. Avian Specialist; Int. Assoc.Animal Behavior Consult; Pet Ind. Joint Advisory Council; author
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my cockatiel is sick and is fluffing up its feathers, ...

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my cockatiel is sick and is fluffing up it''s feathers, won''t let anyone touch it and sleeping all the time. We took him to a vet and they said it was a bacterial infection and put him in an incubator. He look very sick in the incubator, he is swaying back and forth, has one eye shut one open. what do you think is wrong?

Is he still at the vet's?

Did your vet tell you the name of the infection?

How old is your little guy (what's his name)?

The more you can tell me about what's being done, how long it's been going on, where he is now - whatever you can add will help.


Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Reply to TheCaretaker's Post: yes he's still at the vet, they haven't gotten the culture back, will get it tomorrow. His name is XXXXX XXXXX 9 years old. The vet said his feathers looked really good and seemed to be okay otherwise, but he looks so much worse since he went to the vet this morning. we went to see him tonight and he looked so sick
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
he seemed to start acting different about a week ago

I know how hard this is for you. You're doing ALL the right things though. He's got a very much higher chance of getting through this with the care you're making sure he's getting.

Bacterial infections include: Chlamydia, mycobacteria, salmonella, pasteurella, yersinia and others. Tests should include sampling (and culture) of the nares (nostrils), oral cavity, cloaca, etc., but if the vet isn't knowledgeable about the normal flora in the bird species they are examining, the results may not mean much. Inexperienced vets will find that the culture grows something and often base their diagnosis on what they know of mammals. Cockatiels are known to contract Bacterial Enteritis - caused by salmonella, E.coli, coliforms and other bacteria infecting the intestinal tract. Common symptoms include diarrhea and going off their food; fluffing, lethargy, picking at and scratching their vent (bottom end), preferring the bottom of the cage and perhaps what looks like seizures (shaking, shivering).

Not all birds will show symptoms. Some are carriers.

The good news is that even a very sick bird can recover from this with a quick veterinary intervention and administration of the proper antibiotic (which will depend on the type of bacteria is found).

Exposure to other sources of contamination like the infected feces of another bird may also occur.

Of course he looks sad. He's stressed and he's scared, but when he comes back feeling much better it'll be worth it.

Just be prepared for him to act a bit 'off' for a few days, even up to a week. These little birds with great big hearts and bigger personalities may take a while to shake off the insult of a hospitalization like this. Tender loving care, calm surroundings and all the indulgences you want to give him will help.

Let me know what they find and I'll be pleased to go over it with you as much as you need ok?

And I'd say 'don't worry', but I know you're going to anyway. At least don't worry as much. He's in good hands!

August Abbott, CAS and other Bird Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Thank You so much! He's such a cute little guy with such a huge personality. He adopted us, I was at my parents house one evening 9 years ago and he just appeared in the top of a tree and walked down, got on my dad's shoulder and after mutiple searches for the owner became ours! I appreciate the advice and I will let you know how he's doing! Amy
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
how do they get that kind of infection? why was he swaying?

It will depend on the type of infection. Did he go outside at all? Or to a groomer?

Maybe some of his fresh (any wet) food was left out more than an hour or two?

It could be anything really. It's not terribly uncommon.

'tiels are pretty smart and they love to be loved by humans. He obviously got lost all those years ago and may have been on his own for many days before deciding that he really needed a human again.

It was a 'tiel that started my exotic bird rescue and rehab efforts (I had been working with wildlife and raptors before that). I have a HUGE soft spot for these birds. So I mean it when I say I would like to know how he does.

All you have to do is re open this question anytime. Do not press accept again.

I'm here every day, though my hours may vary, so please be patient.

Good luck with him ok and God bless,

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Reply to TheCaretaker's Post: Thank you thank you thank you!
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Pepe died in the night, we have been very devistated today. this is the first time I have been able to think about responding to you. :( The culture won't be ready till monday, but we are going to find out the results. Thank you so much for your concern! Pepe was a precious part of our lives and always kept EVERYONE in line with his bossy chirps. He knew when we were coming home from a block away and would give his little warning chirps! He loved chewing on peoples hair and even groomed our cats when they were tiny kittens. I know he is in a better place, but I wish he could have been at home with us when he passed away.
Bless you and your birds and family
Amy Coates

Amy my heart broke to hear this. I'm so sorry for you and the silence in your home now.

Nothing I can say will take away the pain. I know how deeply it hurts and only time will take the sting away.

Please, please know that you did the right thing for him. You tried your best and that has to give you some peace.

If you'd like to follow up again with the culture results, again you can just re open this (don't press 'accept' again).

My heart is with you