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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 57837
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 48 years of experience.
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My canary is sitting on the bottom of his cage with his

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My canary is sitting on the bottom of his cage with his wings spread. He has been wobbly all day and isn’t eating
JA: I'll do all I can to help. A lack of appetite can seem worrying. Does the canary also seem more tired than usual?
Customer: Yes he’s not interacting at all and is just sitting
JA: Does the canary seem to be in any pain?
Customer: not that I can tell
JA: And what's the canary's name and age?
Customer: He is called Owen and he’s only about eight months old
JA: Is there anything else the Vet should know about Owen?
Customer: he ate a large grape last night but they have never bothered him before. He was fine yesterday.

Dr. Michael Salkin is typing. Please be patient.

I'm sorry to hear about this with Owen. It's important to note that once a canary acts ill it's already quite ill and in need of the attention of an avian-oriented vet (please see here: theparrotsocietyuk.org/veterinaryadvice/avian-vets). This is a protective mechanism because sick birds are attacked by other birds in the wild. His clinical signs of bottom dwelling, anorexia and weakness (wobbling) are important signs 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. diagnostic testing is necessarily limited in such a small bird but a drop of blood might be analyzed in the form of a complete blood count (CBC).

Until Owen 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. Because he appears weakened, 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 Owen'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: www.harrisonsbirdfoods.com or here: www.lafeber.com/pet-birds 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. Here are some tricks in transitioning him to pellets: https://www.harrisonsbirdfoods.com/using-our-foods/diet-conversion/

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

Customer: replied 11 days ago.
He has had the canary seed with added vitamins. He has got worse, he is laying in my hand and not moving much.
Customer: replied 11 days ago.
Does he have a chance of recovery

I regret that Owen is likely to be agonal - near death. Please continue in this conversation if you wish.

Customer: replied 11 days ago.
Is there anything I can do

You're necessarily constrained to what I posted in the paragraph above beginning "Until Owen can be attended to..."

Customer: replied 11 days ago.
Ok thank you, ***** ***** has him now. He is laying in his hand, not moving very much and trying to spread his wings

I wish I could be more encouraging. I can't set a follow up in this venue and so please return to our conversation with an update at your convenience.

Customer: replied 11 days ago.
Ok thanks. I will do

I appreciate it.

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