How to Tell If a Parrot Is Sick

How to Tell If a Parrot Is Sick

Have you ever wondered - Is my bird sick? Or, did that fall cause injury? Are things bad enough that I need to go to the vet?

Sick or injured birds show a set of symptoms that need specialized Avian Vet Care. It doesn’t matter what caused the illness or injury, a bird will show these signs when it has "Sick Bird Syndrome."

• Fluffed feathers
• Not eating and losing weight rapidly
• Listless
• Inactive – not playing or vocalizing as it usually does
• Sleeping when you “spy on it”
• Unusual or limited droppings

If your bird any of the above symptoms, it has been sick for a couple of days. Remember that birds instinctively hide illness so as not to chased from the flock. By the time your bird is showing the above symptoms, it is dangerously ill and it is in an emergency situation. These symptoms are critical, so please don’t take them lightly! Learn to recognize them so you know when to get emergency vet care.

Have you been following Peachy’s progress after I accidently cut his foot while trimming his nails? He bled about 1 – 1.5 cc and was placed on a round of antibiotics. He hated them! And, trying to get them down was almost as traumatizing as the injury itself. I wondered if he was needed some probiotics to recoup some healthy bacteria, so I gave him some AviBos. But, for good measure, I took him back to the vet! Surprisingly, he had absolutely no sign of infection. And, he was perky and putting weight back on.

So, it was suggested to get him back to his usual routine. I put him back in his cage and kept a close eye on him, but true to pet birds’ instinct to hide illness, Peachy acted normal every time I entered the bird room. That is until the second day!

The second day I toweled him to catch him, which is NOT his usual behavior. He refused to step up! As soon as I picked him up I knew he was gravely ill. I weighed him. He’d lost another 60 grams for a total of 95 gm. weight loss in two weeks. That's 10% of his weight.  I'm so glad that I had a bird scale. He was very weak and I began hand-feeding him some Exact Hand-feeding Formula and Formula One for weight gain. I called the clinic, but with it being a weekend, and myself being experienced in bird care, we decided to treat Peachy at home in a hospital cage, warmth and hand-feeding. Dr. Roeder would be in on Monday.

Peachy was still weak the next morning, and while he was eating some grapes smothered in hand-feeding formula he seemed to be having trouble breathing. I didn't want to wait until his 2:30 appointment, so I had Dr. Roeder squeeze him in between appointments. She wanted to do X-rays which I agreed to.

The news was bad. Peachy has a mass the size of a ping-pong ball in his abdomen. Dr. Roeder referred our case to a Denver specialist who is looking into scheduling exploratory surgery.  

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  • Diane Burroughs
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