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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 28936
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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My canary is using only s left foot. He holds s right foot

Customer Question

My canary is using only his left foot. He holds his right foot to his side. he is still flying but has a hard time balancing on one foot when he lands. He is only about six months old had him for 3 months no problems. Don't know what to do I'm afraid to catch him that I might make it worse
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. We don't have many avian-oriented vets on the site. In addition, structural damage to our pets is the most difficult to accurately assess in a long distance fashion. To better understand why your canary is lame I would need to carefully restrain him, and visually and by palpation (feeling) examine his leg from hip to toe. The fragile limbs of canaries are easily traumatized. Fractures and soft tissue bruising, sprains, and strains are common. Vascular compromise is common due to the limited blood supply to the limbs. Skin changes indicative of mites, hyperkeratosis (excess keratin/scaliness), and pox virus must be recognized. Unless you're experienced handling canaries it's best that you don't try to examine him yourself. Too much pressure to his body wall with suffocate him. Let an experienced vet do this. Please see here for such a vet: and please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
My question if the foot is traumatized in some way (the back of the foot is dark colored) what can we do for him. He is using it a little more than yesterday so I'm hoping its getting better. He isn't singing but he is chirping, flying, drinking and eating. He has had this problem for 3 or 4 days so how long can we go until its something we might have to take him to the vet for?
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

It depends upon the type of trauma. A bruise is going to heal with the tincture of time. If the skin is broken it's likely to become infected and so I'd soak such a foot in potentiated iodine (Betadyne) twice daily. A fracture and subsequent bleeding would be left alone to heal with time - often just a matter of a few weeks in birds. He sounds like he's already remissing and so "watchful waiting" should suffice for now.