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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 30348
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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Spangle Budgie 1yr 11mths old. Normally very chirpy,

Customer Question

Spangle Budgie 1yr 11mths old. Normally very chirpy, talking, whistling etc. Seems to act as if trouble swallowing, very sleepy also, flying ok, eating but not normal seems to prefer honey bar to his seeds, bit concerned, any advice would be appreciated, thank you Grace McLaughlin
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Vet
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
he is not making any sounds except a very poor chirp if you like not normal for him, he also sits puffed up.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

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

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner. We don't have many avian vets on this site. It's important to note that once a budgie acts ill it's already quite ill and in need of the attention of an avian-oriented vet (please see here: theparrotsocietyuk.org/veterinaryadvice/avian-vets). This is a protective mechanism because sick birds are attacked by other birds in the wild. Gabriel's symptoms of trouble swallowing (sore throat due to infection +/- vitamin A deficiency?), somnolence (sleepiness), being quiet and puffed up are important symptoms but they're not pathognomonic (specifically indicative) of any one particular disorder.

An avian-oriented vet might first treat symptomatically and supportively by providing supplemental fluids and electrolytes by needle and tube feeding a "recovery" food. Blood tests and cultures of Gabriel's choana - the slit between his oral cavity and nose - and cloaca (vent) may be taken. Whole body X-rays can be quite helpful as well.

Until he can be attended to, please heat up his environment to 29.4C 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. If he appears weakened 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/agricultural merchant 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 Gabriel's diet consisted of, please? Seeds should compose less than 20% of his diet. A diet of mainly seed and nuts has excessive fat, carbohydrates, and phosphorus; marginal protein; adequate vitamin E, and are deficient in amino acids, calcium, available phosphorus, sodium, manganese, zinc, iron, vitamins A, D3 (necessary for efficient absorption of calcium), K, and B12, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, choline, and available niacin. Ideally, a balanced pelleted diet such as can be found here: www.harrisonsbirdfoods.com or here: www.lafeber.com/pet-birds should be fed as well as hard boiled egg yolk, pancakes and cornbread, the tops of fresh greens, dairy products such as yogurt and cheese, fresh fruits such as apples, pears, melon, kiwi, and berries, vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, beets, asparagus, cabbage, sweet potato, and squash, and even tiny pieces of meat.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you so much for your help, in the last few minutes he has began to whistle again and seems to perk up, so I shall take the advice you have sent me and if no improvement then I shall contact my vet tomorrow. Thank you so much, it is very much appreciated. Grace McLaughlin
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

That's good to hear, Grace. I can't set a follow-up in this venue so please return to our conversation - even after rating - with an update at your convenience. You can bookmark this page for ease of return.

Dr. Michael Salkin and other Vet Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your kind accept. I appreciate it.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you again for your help, Gabriel seems to be back to almost normal, he is talking and whistling again, I did what you suggested about the light and had a very quick response,I have purchased vitamin drops for him too so I hope he will continue to thrive, many many thanks again. Grace McLaughlin.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

What a good update! Thank you for taking the time to let me know.