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DrRalston, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 2207
Experience:  Over twelve years of internal medicine, surgery, and preventive care.
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Hi I have a quacker parrot and he started plucking one side

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Hi I have a quacker parrot and he started plucking one side of himself it has now developed into him damaging his skin as he keeps at it making a mess of his side below the wing just above the leg I am stresses I have found out none of tbe local vets have parrot expertise. I could take a photo to show you if it would help

Hello, I'm Dr Ralston. Thank you for your question.

Finding a good avian Veterinarian can be difficult. Even here on Just Answer there are not many.

I would be glad to review any photos you would like to post. You can use the paper clip function above to find the file on your computer. Or you can post to a third party like flickr and then share the link here.

Unfortunately, I think I might have an idea what is already.

Firstly, you want to be sure this isn't something like feather mites. This is still a young bird and they are more prone to problems with feather mites. This can become incredibly itchy and they start to pluck or mutilate themselves.

It is worth trying a mite dust bath if you haven't already. These can be purchased online quite easily, and also from most pet shops.

Nutritionally speaking, be sure you are giving a well balanced diet.

But unfortunately, what is common in Quaker's is :

The aetiology is unclear. There is no histopatho logical evidence of a pathogen. Insufficient cases have been fully worked up to determine a pattern.

Clinical presentation
There is acute onset of severe self-induced skintrauma, often directed at the neck and sternum and usually unrelated to prior episodes of feather-damaging behaviour (131).

Treatment is directed at preventing further trauma through the use of neck braces and/or Elizabethan collars. Analgesia is given through the use of NSAIDs and antibiotic coverage is provided. Euthanasia is often requested because of the severity and recurrence of the trauma.

You will likely really need to find a Vet that can deal with exotics, because you are going to need some medications. And you might not be able to get these without a prescription.

Another weird thing to consider would be giardia infection. Especially in the arm pits. You still need some medications.

Listen, to find the closest Vet that deals with exotics, go to a local pet store that sells pet birds and parrots. You might have to check with a bunch of them. Don't go to one in a mall so much. But find that specialty store. Find the manager and talk to them. They have to find a Vet to help them with birds or they lose money. So, they will almost always know a Vet they work with that does medicine with birds.

That Vet might not always publicize that they work with birds, because maybe they don't want to do it full time. Rather as just a hobby, you see. But that is a good way to find a contact that can help you locally.
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.


Hello I am unable to upload a photo usinh your paparclip method if you have an email address I could use as a one off I would be most grateful. I am really worried about my new parrot I have had him less than a month. The skin he has bitten away is not bleeding but he has been quiet all night compared to the norm I do not want to loose him he is a perfect companion for me I am disabled and dont go out much is there anything I can do tonight ti stop him picking with his beak. I thought if putting a drop or so of tcp and wash it it smells strong of disinfectent and thought the smell or the taste might put him off as it is not a nice taste or smell. I have used this on my dogs cats rabbit ect with no after effects but I know parrots are different. Please can you find help advice for me tonight please I would be most grateful. Andy

TCP probably isn't a good idea. It's an antiseptic, but it has phenols in it. They can be dangerous to birds.

But, what I would recommend is something like bitter apple or bitter orange. These are bandage licking deterrents that come in a spray bottle. They are made for dogs, but you can use them on birds. They can be bought at most pet stores too. Just ask the owner. It might be called something different, but you are looking for something that can be sprayed on skin and bandages of dogs to prevent chewing on a sore or bandage.

Anything else might burn if put on the wound.

You can make a medical collar to go around the bird's neck though. This will help prevent the chewing. Here's a video for that :

You might be able to make a kind of sweater out of sock as well ...

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi many thanks for that I have watched the video and she was taling about lotions etc I have a light cream which is only for animals it is a tea tree antibacterial balm it is for damaged skin and it says it is for all animals would this help I would make sure it is rubbed well into the skin so there is nothing for the bird to eat I am trying all I know until I can get it to our local vets of which none of them say they are parrot experts but I live on a remote island on the far north west coast of Scotland and the nearest avian expert I can find on google is a 3 hour ferry crossing and a200 mile drive so I hope u see my ddilemma. Could you let me know your thoughts please. Andy