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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 28932
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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I'm a novice bird lover. I have two parakeets. Bought same

Customer Question

I'm a novice bird lover. I have two parakeets. Bought same day and place. One is fine. Second has the scaly nose which is longer than it should be. She also is alway in a puffy state. She has been puffy since I bought her but the crusty long nose has been noticed this week. Money is short I'm a RN of people (lol) but would understand home treatment orders. Let's try to help out this little guy. Thank you. Gayle XXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Bird
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner. It's important to note that once a parakeet acts ill they're quite ill and in need of the attention of an avian-oriented vet (please see here: This is a protective mechanism because ill birds are attacked by other birds in the wild. Lucy's symptoms of "puffiness" (and overly long and scaly beak - the scaly beak and leg mite?) isn't pathognomonic (specifically indicative) of any one disorder.

An avian-oriented vet will first treat symptomatically and supportively by providing supplemental fluids and electrolytes by needle and tube feeding a "recovery" food. Blood tests and cultures of Lucy's choana - the slit between her oral cavity and nose - and cloaca (vent) may be taken. You can address her beak by clipping it back to a normal shape and size (making sure that you have a chemical hemostat at the ready if you cut through the quick) and then treating the scaly areas with an over the counter miticide but you'll find that a vet can do this more expediently and inject Lucy with ivermectin which should be curative with just one treatment. I understand your financial constraints but you can't address Lucy's overall malaise with over the counter products.

Until Lucy 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. 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 Lucy's diet consisted of, please?