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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question

Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 24356
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience.
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My little owl cant keep his head up straight, it drops it to

Customer Question

my little owl cant keep his head up straight, it drops it to the floor and looks as if he is upside down
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.
Aloha! You're speaking with Dr. Michael Salkin
I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner. When a bird demonstrates such weakness or torticollis (a twisted neck), they're already quite ill but that symptom isn't pathognomonic (specifically indicative) of any one disorder. Do you have an avian-oriented vet (please see here: www.aav.org) who can take a look at your owl? I regret that I can't be more specific from here.
An avian-oriented vet will first treat symptomatically and supportively by providing supplemental fluids and electrolytes by needle and tube feeding a "recovery" food. Blood tests and cultures of your owl's choana - the slit between her oral cavity and nose - and cloaca (vent) may be taken.
Until he can be attended to, please heat up his environment to 90F by means of a 100W bulb shined into his partially covered cage (not at night when he needs to rest) or by taping a heating pad set on its lowest setting to the sides of his cage. Remove his perches and put his food and water on the bottom of the cage along with him. Add a water soluble avian vitamin such as Oasis brand to his water at half of the recommended dose so as not to make his water distasteful. Add a calcium supplement such as Calcivet or Calciboost to his water. These supplements are available in pet/feed stores. Avoid over the counter antibiotics designed to be placed in his water. They won't be effective if only because an ill bird won't drink enough to medicate itself properly.
Nutritional imbalances are a common cause of illness in our pet birds. What has his diet consisted of, please?

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