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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 29710
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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My cockatiel is just 10 years old- Her poop started to smell

Customer Question

My cockatiel is just 10 years old- Her poop started to smell and I have been emailing with the vet for a week before I finally brought her to see him- He asked that I change her diet to basically pellets and not to give her human foods. I also mix 2 teaspoons of apple cider vineger in a quart of water mix it and put that in as her drikking water.
She seems fine othewise- but her poop on and off still smells and at times is loose.
Any suggestions?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Bird
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

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Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

Lezlie, there are quite a few causes of odiferous and diarrheic droppings and so we perform a few tests to see if we can clarify which cause(s) are present. Important considerations are an enteritis (inflammation of the intestines) by bacteria, fungi, viruses, or toxins; intestinal parasites (helmiths, protozoa) - unlikely to be the problem in a 10 year who had been well until now; proventricular dilatation disease (avian bornavirus), chlamydiosis, Macrorhabdus (previously known as megabacteria or avian gastric yeast), liver disease, zinc and lead poisoning, and a change in diet.

My diagnostic work-up on Spike would include culturing her droppings and performing a basic avian diagnostic panel of blood and urine tests. Has her vet recommended this type of testing? Pellets are a good idea if you can transition Spike to them slowly. I have no objection to human foods, however. 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.