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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question

Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 24433
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience.
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I have a sun conure, he is13 years old, and on the whole in

Customer Question

I have a sun conure, he is13 years old, and on the whole in good health, eating well and seems quite happy, but this week I find he has lost the upper part of his beak, a section that connects to the nasal area. On other occasions he has had a beak peel, like we do with nails, but never anything like this. I worry that the remainder of the beak may crack off when he eats nuts or seeds. Will it grow back? and what can I do to help him?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 3 years ago.
Aloha! You're speaking with Dr. Michael Salkin
I'm sorry for the delay in replying to you. There aren't many avian vets yet for our UK customers.

Can you upload a closeup photo of Dennis's beak to our conversation? You can use the paperclip icon in the toolbar above your message box or an external app such as imgur.com. I can be more accurate for you if I can see what you're seeing.

I believe that you're describing a maxillary beak fracture at the juncture of the beak and beak bed from which the beak emerges. In these cases, as long as the beak bed remains healthy it can regenerate normal beak. You can support this happening by ensuring that adequate levels of calcium and vitamins are available to Dennis. We're most concerned about calcium and vitamin A deficiencies in conures. For mor about feeding please see here: http://www.vcahospitals.com/main/pet-health-information/article/animal-health/conures-feeding/860

We don't consider prostheses in these cases nor do we patch the beak if the fracture abuts the beak bed. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

unfortunately I am not really computer literate, I can do basic stuff but have never downloaded a photo, and as my husband is in Singapore I can't ask for help. the only way I could let younsee him, would be in a Skype call to you, but I assume that is not possible. There is a hole about half the size of my little finger nail separating the top beak from the nasal area, underneath the hole, there appears to be a pale pink formation that might or might not be thebed of the beak, if it is, will it harden and colour up like his old beak. other than extra vitamins is there anything else I should do

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 3 years ago.
I understand. Unfortunately, I can't Skype from where I currently am. The pale pink tissue is likely to be the beak bed and as long as it stays healthy can continue to produce normal beak. Rather than fill the hole, however, it would extend farther from the nasal area just as a fingernail would grow. The hole, then, would be pushed farther and farther away from the nose as the new beak appeared.

Extra minerals - particularly calcium - in addition to extra vitamins - particularly vitamin A - are indicated. Pelleted rations are ideal and should supply what Dennis needs. If Dennis won't eat pellets, you'll need to pick up a calcium and vitamin supplement at your local pet store.

Please continue our conversation if you wish.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

thank you for the advise, I did give my 3 parrots extra vitamins but stopped early in the summer as they were getting lots of fresh fruit and veg from the garden, I will go tomorrow and replenish the stocks, If I have any more problems I will ask for another advise session later on. There is no sign of the start of another beak growing from the base as yet, just the pink bed, but I have just had him out for a few hours and he seems quite content at the moment Thanks again, Chris Holdaway

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 3 years ago.
You're quite welcome. Patience is required. Beaks grow slowly (smaller birds' beaks may grow at 5cm/year).

I'm going to check back with you in a few weeks for an update. Feel free to return to our conversation - even after rating - prior to my contacting you if you wish.

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