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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 45444
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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I need a bird doctor, do you have one. I did tell you before

Customer Question

I need a bird doctor, do you have one.
JA: I'll do all I can to help. What seems to be the problem with the bird?
Customer: I did tell you before Its called pingu and its little budgie,
JA: Where does the bird seem to hurt?
Customer: don't talk any more .eat little drink little, fly not as much. sleep a lot and looks fluffy. I need bird doctor.
JA: OK. No obvious pain. Could be a lot of things that cause lethargy. The Expert will know how to help the bird. What is the bird's name?
Customer: Pingu
JA: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Pingu?
Customer: Has this doctor helped any birds before?
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Bird
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 7 months ago.

Dr. Michael Salkin is typing. Please note that experts aren't allowed to prescribe prescription drugs in this venue.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 7 months ago.

I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner and I'm sorry to hear of this with Pingu. 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: This is a protective mechanism because sick birds are attacked by other birds in the wild. Pingu's symptoms are important but they're not pathognomonic (specifically indicative) of any one particular disorder. They're part of an array of highly nonspecific signs of what we call “sick bird syndrome”.

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 Pingu's choana - the slit between his oral cavity and nose - and cloaca (vent) may be taken. Whole-body X-rays can be helpful as well.

Until Pingu 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. 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 Vita-Drops 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 Pingu's diet consisted of, please? Seeds should comprise 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: or here: 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 - yes these low lactose foods are safe, 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 7 months ago.
Can I put a hot water bottle under a thin cloth in his cage instead?
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 7 months ago.

Certainly, but use a thicker covering lest he lands on the cloth and burns his feet. Please continue our conversation if you wish.

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
he makes a few little sounds when he's breathing only sometime and what it wrong with him?
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Can I feed him a boiled egg yolk now?
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 7 months ago.

Yes, hard-boiled egg yolk is marvelously nutritious. Regrettably, we can know what's wrong Pingu at this time. He would need the attention of an avian vet who could examine him hands-on and perhaps test him as I posted in my initial response to you. Please continue our conversation if you wish.

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Am I allowed to give him vit-min drops in his water
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 7 months ago.

Yes, liquid soluble vitamins are better than those sprayed over his food which is likely to be lost when he hulls seeds. I see only seeds in his cage. His diet must be improved lest his lifespan is significantly reduced. Here are some tricks in transitioning him to a pelleted diet:

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Can I give him warm water as well in the hot water bottle but it wont be boiling?
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 7 months ago.

Certainly; your goal is to heat up his environment to 29.4C.

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Thank you for all your help and I would rate 5 out of 5 stars for you. Can I speak to you tomorrow and tell you how he is feeling?
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
I will give him carrots, meat, har boiled egg yolk, lettuce and more if that's ok
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 7 months ago.

That's a very good idea. I'll watch for your next post. 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.

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Unfortunately he died so I can't give him any other food. Pray for Pingu
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 7 months ago.

My condolences for your loss of Pingu. I appreciate your taking the time to let me know. You may receive an inappropriate follow-up from the site ostensibly sent by me. It wasn't and I apologize in advance should you receive it.

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
what do I put him in to bury him?
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 7 months ago.

Whatever you choose but be sure to bury deep - at least 2 feet - lest he is dug up by a scavenger.