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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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Hello, we have a budgie, who is probably about 4 to 5 years

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Hello, we have a budgie, who is probably about 4 to 5 years old. He came from a reputable pet shop and well known breeder, he still wears his tag on his leg.

For the last few days he has been sleeping more during the day and for the last two days he has had his head tucked un der his wing with his feathers all fulffed out. He has been drinking, not seen him eat, although I know he had some millet spray seed a couple of days ago.

I have put him in the lounge near the radiator to keep him warm and covered the cage with a shawl to keep it dark and quiet. There is another budgie in the cage with him who is only about 2 years old. This budgie is being very respectful to him and not squawking his head off as he some times does!

Am I doing all the right things, is there anything else I should be doing and does he need to see a vet?
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.

Yes he needs to see a vet, ASAP. How long have you had him? Is he new to your home? Any accidents, trauma, fumes, pest treatment, burned cooking, etc?

IMPORTANT Check the website for the feed you give, there have been many recalls.

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 (eggs, if female or unknown). 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 bird 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. Small animal/reptile boxes are great for this purpose

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.

You need to take your bird to see an avian-experienced veterinarian ASAP for complete examination, diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Check

Bird Vet
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: (NNN) NNN-NNNN9696
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.

XXXXXbr/> 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.

If this were my patient, and money no object, 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.

Your bird may need injectable fluids, calcium, antibiotics and many other medications. Act quickly and good luck.

Here are a few suggestions that I give everyone: important!

The following guidelines help with basic issues such as nutrition, obesity, good immune status. Surprising how the following can make a bird healthy, and how infrequently birds are ill if they are on the following regimen. No amount of medicine is going to work if the birds' basic needs are not met.

AAV Guidelines

Birds should be on a high-quality, preferably prescription, pelleted diet: I prefer High-potency Harrison's



In addition, they should be offered dark leafy greens, cooked sweet potatoes, yams, squash, pumpkin; entire (tops and bottoms) fresh carrots and so forth. No seeds (and that means a mix, or millet, or sprays, etc. etc.) and only healthy, low-fat high fiber people food. A dietary change should be closely monitored and supervised by your avian vet.

Daily Maintenance

Birds should get 12-14 hours dark, quiet, uninterrupted sleep at night. Any less and they can suffer from sleep deprivation and associated illnesses. They should be covered or their cage placed in a dark room that is not used after they go to bed.

The cage material should be cleaned everyday, and twice a day if the bird is really messy. Paper towels, newspaper, bath towels are ok. Never use corn cob, sawdust, wood chips, or walnut shell.
Food and water dishes should be cleaned and changed daily. Keep one set cleaned while the other is in use.

Fresh, perishable food should be placed in separate food bowls. Remove fresh food from the cage after a couple of hours to avoid spoilage.

Change cage papers daily, and clean the grate and tray weekly.

Clean food debris or droppings from toys and perches as needed (which can be as often as once a day).

Grit is not necessary for birds, and will cause digestive problems and death. The best sources of minerals (and vitamins) are leafy greens. Never give grit, gravel sandpaper or cement perches. A bird will eat those to excess when it is not feeling well or if there is a nutritional deficiency. They do not need it at all (an old myth from the poultry days, even poultry do not need it). It can cause an impaction and lead to serious or fatal consequences.
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