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Dr. Taus
Dr. Taus, Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 505
Experience:  Veterinarian with experience in equine and small animal medicine.
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My 10 year old male ring neck dove is sick. Weak labored breathing,

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My 10 year old male ring neck dove is sick. Weak labored breathing, unusual chirping noise, still able to perch. Cloaca (sp?) appears swollen but he is passing feces that look the same as always. He seems very thin all of a sudden, keel is more pronounced. What can I do for him. No Avian specific veterinarians in my area.

Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX
Hi there,
I'm so sorry to hear that your bird is sick. While the signs you are describing are nonspecific signs of illness in birds (they show us the bird is sick but not what is causing the illness), I do have some suggestions for you.

First of all, I'd recommend setting up a hospital cage. When birds are sick, they are often using their body resources to fight the illness, and the hospital cage helps support them. If he is the only bird in the cage, you can make some adjustments to the cage he is in, but he should not be with other birds while he is ill.

Drape a sheet or towel over one side of the cage, and use a lamp or reptile block to increase the temperature in the cage to about 90 degrees. Also, keep a pan of water near or under the cage to increase the humidity. Put food and water bowls on the floor to make them easy to get to, so he doesn't have to work to perch if he doesn't want to. Minimize handling, and keep him in a quiet, low traffic area.

He may also benefit from antibiotics if he has a respiratory or other infection. Trimethoprim sulfa powder is available from many online sources for caged birds, and can be mixed in the water. This is a broad spectrum antibiotic that fights many illnesses. A vitamin B-12 supplement may also be helpful. Both of these should be given according to the label directions.

Without knowing exactly the cause of the dove's illness, it's hard to know if these recommendations will be successful. If the illness is caused by a fungus or even a tumor (these are very rare), it may not work and veterinary attention is required.

I hope this is helpful. If so, please rate me positively, and don't hesitate to let me know how I can help further.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you so much Dr. Taus. My dove Trinket seems much better today. I was able to thoroughly clean the cage (he shares the cage with his mate and I can't separate them - they get very agitated), rearrange extra food and water dishes to the bottom, the room (my office) where the cage is located is now about 85 degrees (warm for all of us). Trinket is a bit more active and alert today, preening and grooming. He is drinking fine but still seems to be "off" eating. He's always been picky eater. I feed them a seed mix that I put together myself with a combination of wild bird seed, commercial dove mix, small hook bill mix and add safflower seed and sprays of millet. I failed miserable to try and get these birds to eat one of the premium pelleted foods. Would it be a wise course to treat with the antibiotic you recommended? I will start the B-12 supplement too. Do you have a recommendation for a palatable seed diet that will help him eat more and put on some weight?


Many thanks, XXXXX XXXXX

I would go ahead and do a course of antibiotics. Give him 3-5 days; if he is improving, continue for a total of 7-10 days. Birds in general are very good at hiding symptoms, so waiting to see if he gets sicker could be risky.

It's great that you tried the pelleted foods-- nutritionally, they are the best-- but they just don't taste as good as the seeds do. The seeds you are feeding sound like a good mix, and the sunflower and safflower seeds in those mixes are high in fat and will tend to encourage weight gain. The main thing right now is going to be to get him feeling better so he wants to eat. Seeds are low in vitamins and minerals, especially calcium, so a vitamin/calcium supplement (you can get this at most pet supply stores) may also be helpful.
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