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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 32762
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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Dear Vet I have a bird called a Red Rump which I believe is

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Dear Vet
I have a bird called a Red Rump which I believe is part of the parakeet family. He has lived outside in an Avery for about 15 years until I kept finding him on the floor in his back during the very cold weather about 6 weeks ago. I brought him in and put him in a cage with extra perches to help him get around. He has been absolutely fine until the last few days when he is continuously falling off his perch and takes ages to recover and climb back up again. Do you think he has had a stroke?
Mrs Ashley Facey
Aloha! You're speaking with Dr. Michael Salkin

I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner. There's a paucity of avian-oriented vets on the site. Yes, Ashley, the red rump parakeet is a common grassland bird in Australia. Yours is at life expectancy and his behavior indicates advanced disease in a geriatric bird. His being found on his back - usually after falling - and obvious falling off his perch indicates a critically ill bird but isn't pathognomonic (specifically indicative) of any one disorder. It's likely that more than one problem exists concomitantly at his age.

To answer you directly, stroke usually manifests as a head tilt and/or torticollis ("twisted neck"). His weakness is more likely due to severe debilitation. Unfortunately, the symptoms you've mentioned can indicate any number of illnesses or health issues. In avian medicine, there's rarely one cause of a condition, so we usually begin with a list of differential diagnoses and use lab tests and physical exams to differentiate. With this in mind, your best course of action is to reach out to your avian-oriented veterinarian (please see here: for help in differentiating the various causes of what you're seeing. Veterinarians can perform a physical exam and run diagnostic tests, including X-rays, to distinguish between the various etiologies. His prognosis for meaningful recovery must remain quite guarded, however.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Dear Dr Salkin

Thank you very much for your reply. I feel that my bird is to weak to put through any tests and also very nervous so this would be extremely distressing for him. At the moment he seems to be managing to get back up after a while and continue to eat and drink. Would you suggest that it would be kinder to have him put to sleep or if I just leave him for now do you think he is in pain.



You're welcome, Ashley. I agree with your pragmatic approach. I would remove him from the aviary and place him in his own cage with the perches removed. His food and water should be placed on the bottom of the cage and the environment should be heated to 27C. I would supplement his diet with water soluble avian vitamins and calcium. Ideally, a pelleted diet should be fed but I don't believe he would accept such a diet at his age if he hasn't been eating it previously.

Let's see how he does with those changes. If he continues to fall, yes, euthansia would be reasonable. Please continue our conversation if you wish.
Dr. Michael Salkin and 2 other Vet Specialists are ready to help you
Thank you for your kind accept. I appreciate it.

I'm going to check back with you in a week for an update. Feel free to return to our conversation - even after rating - prior to my contacting you if you wish.

Please disregard the info request.