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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 28577
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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My Macaw has started having seizures again this morning, I

Customer Question

My Macaw has started having seizures again this morning
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Seizures always look scary. Let's get you talking to the Veterinarian. What is the macaw's name and age?
Customer: I just came inside and noticed
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about your macaw?
Customer: Max
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Bird
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
last year she lost her talons on her left foot due to an accident .. Now she is isolated to a box and due to my own medical condition is only seen once a day
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
This is the first time in a long time that this has happened .. but it has happened before .. and her vet is closed on the weekends and the emergency hospital for animals here is next to worthless
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
She has a twitching to the left side wing ..
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
She is being very vocal .. or was very vocal for a while .. she is quieting somewhat now ... I tried my best to hydrate her .. and gave her some antibiotics that were kept for her
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Is anyone there?
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Posted by JustAnswer at customer's request) Hello. I would like to request the following Expert Service(s) from you: Live Phone Call. Let me know if you need more information, or send me the service offer(s) so we can proceed.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I needed a rapid and knowledgeable answer ... Max is rapidly deteriorating now .. I don't know what to do other than what other websites prescribe .. which by the way is where I found a link to your emergency services site ..
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 9 months ago.

You're speaking to Dr. Michael Salkin. Welcome to JustAnswer. I'm currently typing up my reply.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 9 months ago.

I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner. We don’t have many avian vets on this site. Please let me know if you still need help.

Seizures can be focal (simple or complex partial seizure, previously called petit mal or psychomotor seizure, respectively) or generalized (general seizure, previously called gran mal). A bird exhibiting a focal seizure generally doesn’t lose consciousness but exhibits localized abnormal movement of a body part (e.g., wing twitch) or unusual behavior (fear, aggression, etc.) It may progress on to a general seizure. General seizures usually begin with a tonic phase – all of the bird’s muscles contract and the patient usually falls to one side with its limbs extended. Defecation is common during this phase. After a few minutes the clonic phase begins in which there is rhythmic contraction of muscles (i.e., paddling, limb twitching, or chewing). This again lasts for a few minutes before the bird regains consciousness and moves into the postictal (post-seizure) stage.

Seizures can be due to a number of causes, either intra- or extra-cranial (inside the skull or outside the skull).

Incracranial causes include:

Infections – paromyxovirus, avian bornavirus, West Nile virus, equine encephalitis, etc.; many bacteria which can invade the central nervous system; fungal and protozoal diseases

Non-infectious – toxins (lead; organophosphates, organochlorines; chocolate; caffeine, some mycotoxins (toxins produced by grain molds)

Neoplasia (cancer)

Cerebrovascular accidents (strokes) – due to yolk embolism in our female birds, atherosclerosis, ruptured aneurism, trauma

Heat stress

Idiopathic epilepsy

Extracranial causes include:

Metabolic disorders (hypoglycemia, hypocalcemia, e.g.)

Hepatopathy (hepatic encephalopathy (rare in parrots))

Renal disease

Respiratory insufficiency leading to hypoxia (lack of oxygen to the tissues)

Cardiac insufficiency

Nutritional deficiencies (vitamin E and B1, e.g.)

Initial stabilization of the seizuring bird may require a benzodiazepine (e.g., diazepam, clonazepam, or midazolam. Blood glucose and calcium should be assessed and administered if appropriate. Longer term stabilization requires anticonvulsant therapy such as with phenobarbital, levetiracetam, or gabapentin. Unless the inciting cause can be identified and removed, the long term prognosis of the seizuring bird remains guarded. However, short to mid-term control can often be achieved with good owner compliance. Unfortunately, there’s little that an owner can do at home once seizures arise. The bird should be wrapped in a small towel in order to avoid it hurting itself and a trip to an avian vet (please see here: made. I understand the logistical problems my bird owners have in that regard, however.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 9 months ago.

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?