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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 33266
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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My 8 yr old budgie is ill. He has lost his feathers from his

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My 8 yr old budgie is ill. He has lost his feathers from his underneath area and it looks red and lumpy. He is still eating a little and drinking a little. His breathing is rapid and exagerated like he is panting. I dont think he has pulled out his feathers i think maybe he has a skin problem or a lump underneath and red uneven flesh. I am reluctant to take him to a vet as he is not used to being handled and i dont want to distress him if he is dying. I want him to go peacefully.
I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner. We don't have many avian vets on this site. The abdominal area of a male budgie of Pippin's age is a common place for both testicular and renal cancers to become apparent. I can't tell from your description if abdominal swelling is present, however. We do also see many types of skin cancers which could look "red and lumpy" as well. In either case, I agree with you - there's no reason for Pippin to see a vet who won't be able to do any more than tell you that you're likely to lose Pippin shortly. His rapid and exaggerated breathing indicates respiratory compromise usually due to an expanding tumor and/or fluid that has accumulated in his abdomen/chest and is impinging on his lungs and air sacs. Please keep him at a 29.4C by shining a 100W lamp into his partially covered cage (not at night when he needs to sleep) or by taping a heating pad to the sides of his cage.Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.
Dr. Michael Salkin and 2 other Vet Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Dear Dr Salkin, thank you for your answer. I think I knew this was probably the case. He has had a brown cere for quite a while and I know this can be linked to testicular cancer in budgies as sadly another budgie may have had this.
I will keep Pippin warm and loved as possible until he passes, which i hope will not be long as I dont like to see him uncomfortable. Henis eating though and spending time with us. He has been a sweet budgie, just a bit nervous so I dont like to stress him by handling. He has 2 budgies close by for company but they are in seperate cage due to him being a bit senior anyway. Thank you again, your response has been most helpful.
Yes, you're correct...that cere color change indicates such a cancer. You're quite welcome. Thank you for your kind accept. I appreciate it. I can't set a follow up in this venue and so would appreciate your returning to our conversation with an update at your convenience.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hello Dr Salkin, I want to update you about my budgie Pippin. Following your advice about keeping him very warm he has improved enormously. His breathing seems quite normal again and he no longer looks sickly with fluffed out feathers. So I am hoping he is more comfortable. He is eating a little millet and lettuce each day and I have moved his food and water up to the perches where he sits. He is partly covered for warmth and peace from the other 2 budgies. I am not trying to extend his life as I do not want him to be in pain, but I am very happy that with your advice he seems to be a lot more comfortable, which is my aim. Sadly he still has the bare lump underneath his lower bellie and he is totally quiet, none of his usual chirping. Thank you again for your advice to me and Pippin. I call him my study budgie as he has sat with me through many hours of study. Kind regards, Jayne.
I'm pleased to hear that you've made your study budgie a happier bird, Jayne. Thank you for taking the time to update me.