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Dr. Pat
Dr. Pat, Bird Veterinarian
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 4244
Experience:  25+ years working primarily or exclusively with birds
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my 8 ear old Marsh Daisy roosters comb has turned blue. He

Customer Question

my 8 ear old Marsh Daisy rooster's comb has turned blue. He is not eating and his breathing is bad. This started yesterday. Separated him, and kept him in our house overnight for warmth and quiet. Help
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Bird
Expert:  Dr. Pat replied 4 years ago.

Greetings, I am Dr. Pat. I have worked with birds for many years. I will do my best to help you.

I am sorry no other expert has taken your question. We all come online at different times, I have just logged in and saw that you have not been answered. I hope I can still be of assistance.

Blue color indicates cyanosis, related to depleted oxygen in the blood. It means the lungs and air sacs are not exchanging oxygen correctly. DIRECTLY related to the breathing problem.

You must get him to a vet and an oxygen chamber immediately. There is no other choice, and his life is in danger. AFTER that, the cause can start to be chosen.

THIS IS A LIFE-THREATENING EMERGENCY. This is a very frightening and distressing condition for the bird.

If this started very suddenly, the prime diagnoses include fumes from faulty heaters, pesticides, fumigation, generators, etc.; toxins; pneumonia from viral, bacterial, fungal or parasitic infection; inhaled foreign object blocking the airway; cardiac disease. So you can see that treatment will depend entirely on ruling out a number of possibilities.

What part of the UK are you in? The first link goes by geography, so click there and go to your region.

Web Address:
Phone: 07787 507 427
Address: c/o The British Wildlife Centre, eastbourne Road
City: Lingfield, Surrey Zip: RH7 6LF
Comments: Alan is now semi-retired but holds surgeries at the following locations below
Avian Vet? Yes

CJ Hall Veterianry Surgeons - Dr. Matthew Fiddes BVScHons CertZooMed MRCVS
Web Address:
Phone: 020 8876 9696
Address: 15 Temple Sheen Road
City: East Sheen, London Zip: SW14 7PY
Comments: Other information: 80% of patenits are avian and exotics. The practice set up for this purpose. All vets and nurses are qualified and professional. They are always willing to help and you will be greeted with a smile.
Avian Vet? Yes

Eastbourne Road(A22), Newchapel,
Lingfield, Surrey
01342 835 000
By appointment only Tuesdays & alternate Friday/Saturdays.

81 Woodville Road
Thornton Heath, Surrey
By appointment only, Tuesday mornings, once every four weeks.

The Old Corn Store
London Road
Westerham, Kent
TN16 1DR
By appointment only, Every Friday, alternating mornings and afternoons.

Newham Court Shopping Village
Bearsted Road
Maidstone, Kent
ME14 5LH
Open session, first come first served, Wednesday afternoons from 4 - 5.30 pm, once every four weeks.

Beddington Park
By appointment only, Tuesday afternoons once every four weeks.

These signs are of a very sick bird, and not specific to any one disease. And that means it is not fair to you or the bird to guess, there are so many possibilities.You are going to need local help on this, and a scientific and solid diagnosis to find safe and effective treatment.

Without a diagnosis, I cannot recommend any particular course of treatment, except good nursing care at home.

If you feel comfortable with it, examine the bird thoroughly, using gentle restraint via washcloth or hand towel: do not
restrict the chest or hold around the body. Check the eyes, nostrils, mouth and beak if possible, having a good look in there for mucus, redness, masses or anything else unusual. Palpate the tummy for pain, fluid, lumps or anything else. Check all the joints for swelling, pain, and mobility. The feathers should be parted to view the skin, muscles and skeleton below; this can be done using a q-tip with isopropyl alcohol or KY gel. Look for bruising, lacerations, injured feathers.

Your job is to keep the bird warm, safe, quiet, and confined; and to provide adequate hydration and calories.

Move the rooster to a box or carrier with soft towels in the bottom, no perch, and food and water in low bowls that can be reached easily. Put the whole thing on a heating pad on low or medium. Check it frequently, no overheating allowed! Keep the unit partially covered, warm and quiet. White paper towels or white cloth towels will show the true color of the droppings.

Here are some helpful links:

Do not try to force food or water. Pedialyte or electrolyte replacer can help but many birds do not like them; when in doubt, plain warm water is best. They can hydrate from oral fluids almost as quickly as IV if the GI is functioning properly. You can offer warm cooked rice, pancakes, cornbread, grapes, melon, greens in addition to normal food.

Pet/feed store medications and home remedies are harmful, ineffective, immuno-suppressive, and make them much worse and may interfere with the veterinarian's diagnosis and treatment. Do not use them. Homeopathy and natureopathic techniques do not work in avians and can actually be very dangerous.

I know it is expensive, but you may not have many home options, because the first thing you need a vet for is to find out what is going on. Treatment is only as good as the diagnosis. If you call around, you may find a vet to work within your means.

I really must stress that you need a bird-experienced person, and not just a vet who advertises that they care for birds.
The problem you have here is to find out what exactly is the cause. There is nothing specific in what you describe, quite literally 100 different diseases can have the same presentation. Luckily there are labs that work with small producers and an start diagnostics for a very reasonable fee.

The expense for this is going to be a lot less than inefficient, ineffective, dangerous treatments, guesswork, and loss of the flock; not to mention possible implications to human consumption of tainted eggs. Many states/governments have poultry diagnostic labs that charge very reasonable fees to test for common diseases. In the UK, check:

If this were my patient, I would start with complete fecal analysis and direct smear, stained with Sedi-stain and unstained for multiple parasites, fungi, spirals; direct smear stained with Sedi-stain and unstained of the oral cavity; bacterial culture and sensitivity of the feces and choana. Depending on the case I might do a fungal culture. Routine blood work is necessary to rule out other issues. There are MANY DNA/RNA tests for bird diseases. Ultrasound is often more informative than radiographs and does not require anesthesia (ask your vet about this option). Generally I start them out on medications as indicated by the tests.

Pet/feed store medications and home remedies are harmful, ineffective, immuno-suppressive, and make them much worse and may interfere with the veterinarian's diagnosis and treatment. Do not use them.