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Vet Talk

Your Questions Answered By:

Our Resident Veterinarian, Dr. Rosskopf

Received another report of a BIRD DYING from TEFLON fumes!
NEVER use a non-stick pot or pan if you have birds!

Arm & Hammer Pet Fresh carpet deodorizer:
My cockatiel died after I used it. Company admitted it's not recommended for use around birds.
They said they didn't need to put a warning on the product. I'm just broken hearted, and her mate is just lost without her. Loretta

Febreze . . . Is it safe for Birds?

We have received conflicting reports. The company says it is safe around birds and that zinc chloride is no longer an ingredient.

Avocado and Chocolate
Avocado and Chocolate are deadly to birds.
Never let them get close to these foods, they might get curious and take a bite.

Animal Poison Control Hotline (staffed 24/7)! 888-4ANI-HELP or 888-426-4435


"Now let me tell you about Dr. Rosskopf! . . ."

Dr. Rosskopf is certified in avian practice and his full title is: Dr. Walter J. Rosskopf, Jr., DVM, Diplomat American Board of Veterinary Practitioners--Avian. There are only 50 or so veterinarians certified in Avian Practice out of the 50,000 or more US veterinarians and only about 55 total worldwide. ("And folks we got one.")

"Want to know more about Dr. Rosskopf?

** Take Me To The Questions & Answers **

** Archived Questions & Answers **

Bird HotLine Directory!

Vet Talk and the Question HelpLine are Not Emergency Lines.

If your bird is hurt or ill please take him or her to a bird vet. Birds try to hide their illnesses and their injuries and rarily show pain. This is to protect themselves from being pushed out of the flock. When a bird acts really sick it is usually too late.

We get many questions that begin with: "should I take my bird to a vet." If you think it, do it.

Some sure signs of illness or injury are:

1. Dull eyes.
2. Puffed up for unusually long times and at unusual times of day (This usually means the bird is trying to keep all the heat it can in his/her system and is ill).
3. Sleeping much more than usual.
4. Eating much less than usual.
5. Sluggish and listless.
6. Loose potties (consistently having wet potties is another major warning sign).
7. Much more needy/cuddly/wanting to be held than usual. (Birds will look to their flock mates to protect them when they are ill.)
8. Weight loss - often the very first sign.

If any of the above doesn't seem right to you PLEASE see your Avian Certified Vet. ASAP. And if you see 2 or more symptoms, DON'T WAIT! Birds try to hide their illness so they won't be pushed out of the flock, so by the time you notice a problem it could be too late. This is a repeat thought but so many of you over the years have waited just a little too long. It can't be stressed enough. These little guys are not like a cat or a dog. For that reason you should always have an Avian Vet lined up for an emergency.

Avian Vet nearest you.

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If your bird shows any of the symptoms listed above,
PLEASE take him or her to a bird vet.

If you have a
go to: Wild Bird

A Special Thank You!

Karen the Parrot Lady deserves a special THANK YOU from all of us. Dr. Rosskopf doesn't even have a computer. We send all your questions to her, she faxes them to him, he writes out the answers, she types them up, and emails them to us so we can post them on the site for you. She has done this for every single question.

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!

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Questions & Answers:

An answer to your question is NOT a medical diagnosis and is only based on the general information provided. These questions and answers do not take the place of proper medical attention for your bird. Always, when you have a concern about your bird, you should take him or her to your veterinarian.

Please, only one question per person per month. If it is determined your question could be best answered through the HelpLine it will be placed there. And one last note: Dr. Rosskopf is dictating his answers, so any misspellings, etc. are ours not his.

Dr. Rosskopf Answers Your Questions

I wish to thank all of you who have sent such warm messages thanking me for making myself available on "Vet Talk." They were greatly appreciated. With my busy schedule I will do my best to answer your questions. There will, however, be some questions I will be unable to answer within this format. We have already received questions of a highly technical nature that wouldn't be proper in this forum, and others that call for a diagnosis that could only be given after a proper exam. The Bird HotLine will inform you if I am unable to respond to your question. Most of the questions, though, are well within the scope of this format. [And there has been a lot of them . . . so be patient.--Bird HotLine]

Thank you again for your well wishes and your notes of appreciation. I only wish I had the time to answer each one personally.

Dr. Rosskopf

(1729) Sherry asks: When can I put a new young male canary, in the same cage with my 2 year old female canary? And By putting them together will that stop male from singing? And How soon can I expect babies? Thank You

Dear Sherry: Male canaries sing when horny or lonely so he will stop singing, most likely. Whether or not you get babies depends on many things, including compatibility, a proper nest box, privacy, health of the birds, etc., etc.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1728) Ray asks: It was determined by my vet that my cockateil has aspirated a seed. She recommended steaming the bathroom and putting Vaseline on his beak. She also gave him a shot of cortisone. She said that in time, he should expel the seed. Do you have any other suggestions?

Dear Ray: If he truly aspirated a seed he is in trouble. The seed must be removed with a small catheter inserted into his trachea.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1727) Renee' asks: my budgies nose has one side bigger than the other and the bigger side looks like it has 3 to 4 breathing holes. What is wrong?

Dear Renee: This sounds like an infection but there are several possibilities. have the bird examined ASAP.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1726) Andrea asks: Any advice for chronic egg laying? Have two female cockatiels that go into stages where they keep on laying until I take them to the vet and put them on hormones. The eggs are not fertile but they both do seem to love sitting on them. Yes, I know they are both females. I have heard taking the eggs away makes them want to replace them although vet doesn't seem to think that. Light in the room they are in is controlled so they have enough dark hours. I think this time a visiting male (not in their cage) set them off.

Dear Andrea: 1. Turn the lights out earlier. 2. Change the cage position. 3. Leave the eggs with them so they will want to make more. 4. You may want to separate them temporarily or longer.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1725) Natasha asks: How Can Parrots talk?

Dear Natasha: The voice box (syrinx) bifurcation of the trachea, just above the heart. They vocalize by use of the vibration membranes of the syrinx. All parrots can theoretically talk but not all of them will.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1724) Julie asks: I am looking after 2 rock pebblers. One appears to have a lazy eyelid which looks swollen at the bottom, though my vet says this is nothing to worry about. Is this normal? Also, is it wise to give caged birds vitamin drops? Thanks for your help. Julie

Dear Julie: If the eyelid problem is an old one and happened due to injury, then it wouldn't be a problem. If this is a sudden onset condition, I'd be concerned about infection.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1723) Sheryl asks: My cockatiel "Rooster", age 12 1/2 has elevated levels of uric acid in kidneys and he is on allipurinol twice a day. What is the best diet for "Rooster" at this point?

Dear Sheryl: Feed low protein diets with emphasis on water-laden foods. Now geriatric pellets are being developed.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1722) Jan asks: I have a green wing that is 11 months old. 95% of the time, her droppings are 80%+ water. We have taken her to the vet on two different occasions where her droppings have been tested. We were told that she had a lot of bacteria and we gave her medication both times. However, the droppings are still the same. She does drink a lot of water. Is this normal?

Dear Jan: Have them do a complete blood workup, a culture, and a urinalysis. This isn't normal and there are many possible causes.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1721) Mary asks: Have you heard of "FilterMate", a fragrance product you attach to your filter to "freshen the air" in the home, to cause severe or other illness in any birds? I have a lovebird that seemed to react minutes after I installed it, though when taken to the vet she was treated for lead poisoning. [The vet said in all her 22 years she thought this was a classic case of lead poisoning.] I could not find any lead as found in items described at various sites. Also she was fine up until the freshener was installed. I immediately removed the product when I saw how depressed she had become. Can you advise on this product?

Dear Mary: I have not heard of this causing problems but anything is possible. What is in this product?

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1720) Iolanda asks: I have a male rosella parrot for 8 years (I don't know his age)who has an abscess or a tumor on his uropygial gland which will probably be removed. How long should a procedure like this take and is it the best way to deal with it?

Dear Iolanda: A procedure like this usually requires a general anesthetic, but can be done fairly quickly.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1717) Ed asks: Do you think that the new sweetner called Splenda would be ok for our African Grey to eat in some of her food. As always thank you and all so much.

Dear Ed: Yes.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1716) Nathaniel asks: Our Lori has been diagnosed with Zinc poisoning but the vet says she does not see enough lories to know what normal levels of zinc should be. Would you know? We found that his cage was full of zinc and have since gotten him a new one. Also can you recommend a lori food that does not have zinc.We have been feeding him the Roudy bush lory food but it has zinc in it. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks

Dear Nathaniel: The laboratory should have values for Zinc. Have the veterinarians study the new Exotic Animal Lab Value book by Fudge. all animals need Zinc. The Roudybush diet will be safe.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1715) Julie asks: I have a large avery (indoors). I have society finches(about 25). Someone is giving me 2 parakeets. There is plenty of room in the avery. Is it OK to mix these two breeds?

Dear Julie: Possibly. They may be incompatible. Larger birds sometimes try to hurt smaller birds. You can carefully supervise them to see.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1713) Candice asks: My budgie has been picking at his feathers around his bottom area, where there is a considereable bare red patch. There is also a raised area on his back(directly above his bottom area). What is this, and can it be treated without going to the vet?

Dear Candice: The raised area is his oil (preening gland). The feather picking could be due to many possible conditions.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1712) Michelle asks: Can a Lorikeet bite cause a auto immune disorder in a human? What types of diseases can be contracted from a Lorikeet bite?

Dear Michelle: This is theoretically possible. Lorikeet bites could result in infection (as any animal bite could), and rarely infectious diseases if the Lorikeet is a carrier (such as Chlamydiosis, Salmonella, etc.).

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1711) Harris asks: One of my canaries started one year ago to lose its feathers around its eyes.Now its almost nake!No skin lessions, no ectoparasites, good appetite, mood for mating. I have visited many avian vets but not succesful therapy. [invermectin,thyroxine etc]

Dear Harris: This sounds like it probably is a genetic problem. I'm assuming they have ruled out sinus infection.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1710) Annette asks: My male Zebra Finches have been fighting (over the females). One of them has lost the tip off the upper portion of his beak. I put him in a separate cage so I could better view if he is eating and drinking all right. I'm still not sure. Will he need to be handfed? Will it grow back? Are there any special precautions I should take?

Dear Annette: If this is an injury, the beak will grow back. You might want to gently file it even with the lower beak,

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1709) Mary asks: Is there any medication that alleviates the symptoms of chronic liver disease? How fast does this disease usually progress? My 2 year old parakeet has been diagnosed with chronic hepatitis based on the green color of his urates. Is there any other disease which can cause the urates to be greenish?

Dear Mary: Green urates are usually associated with liver disease because of B\biliveerdin pigment not filtering properly. There are many causes of liver disease & many treatments. It all depends on the cause.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1708) Lisa asks: do birds carry anything such as toxoplasmosis that could be of concern during pregnancy?

Dear Lisa: Toxoplasmosis has been seen in a number of bird species such as Myna Birds. Diseases of concern should be Chlamydiosis, Salmonellosis, Avian TB, Giardiosis, and others.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1707) Kim asks: My Lilac crown who is 14 years old has been losing weight for the last 2 months. My vet has been doing different test the last couple of weeks. He also regurgitates his food. Today she gave him a white solution and x rayed him every 1-2 hours. She found his gizzard was swollen. He is not grinding his food and it is taking a long time to go through him. She said he has polyoma virus and it is a slow killer. She put him on celebrex and said that the university in Georgia has had good results with it. Everything I have read seems to be a fast killer. I guess my question is do you think that sounds like polyoma virus. I also was reading about a vaccine. Should I give his 40 year old girlfriend the vaccine. My vet never mentioned it. I have had my birds about 10 years and never added new ones. I don't know where he got it. Sorry this is so long. Just frustrated that My poor bird is wasting away. thanks

Dear Kim: Are you sure the diagnosis wasn't PDS (Wasting syndrome)? Celebrex is reported to be helpful for that disease. This doesn't sound like Polyoma but perhaps the bird has both diseases. If this is the case by all means vaccinate the other.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1706) Michelle3 asks: What is the best method for traveling a long distance in a car with a recovering adult Conure? The travel will take about 5 days. thank you, Michelle

Dear Michelle3: This depends on what the bird is recovering from. Does the bird "ride" well? If it doesn't, make frequent stops. Covering the cage may help. Tranquilizers usually do not help.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1705) Karen asks: I just bought a pink ring neck dove, the other day I went to hold her and she had both eyes closed. What could this be? My husband opened her eyes and she seems to be doing fine. Will it hurt her do open her eyes?

Dear Karen: She probably was frightened by being handled. Careful opening of her eyes is safe. Doves can easily panic and go into a trance-like state. Consider an exam by a specialist.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1704) Jameel asks: My girlfriends cockatiel ill with what the doctor says is a sinus infection, but she's had them before and this seems different. Not just by the way she's acting, which is unusual, but her beak is turning brown. Do you know of any illnesses that give birds discolored beaks?

Dear Jameel: If the sinus infection is extensive it can interfere with beak growth or color as the beak originates in the cere.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1703) Ed asks: Do you think that the new sweetner Splenda is ok to give our Parrot in some of the people food we give her. Thank You..

Dear Ed: Yes.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1702) Tony asks: We have two parakeets male & female the female has lost her feathers around her eyes what to do worry parents

Dear Tony: The female probably has a sinus infection. Have her examined by an avian veterinarian.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1700) Angel asks: I have recently taken my 7 year old African Grey to an avian vet and found out she has parasites in her "poop". He has put her on medication for this issue. Is this a concern for me? He seems as though this is a common thing and that the medication will take care of it. He also said this is a thing that can just happen, no specific reason and that it could have happened as far back as when she was a baby. She has had strange "poop" since she went to the exam, could this be due to stress? It seems looser than normal and could it also be her medication? He gave her...Albon solution, Panacur, and Neo-calugucon. I know one is a calcium for her. She also has a bit of a twitch like seizure but the only time she ever has it is when she is messed with by a vet etc... She is normal acting, talking and eating otherwise. Just looking for some reassurance for Rosie... Thanks!

Dear Angel: African Greys sometimes have tapeworms but rarely get Coccidiosis (what Albon is used for) and rarely get roundworms (what Panacur is used for). The Neocal is used for low blood calcium. Ask what parasite was seen & possibly seek a second opinion.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1699) Elna asks: I have a 3 month old Patagonian Conure called "Pudding" who loves to bath. As our water here in Johannesburg is very hard I have noticed that his skin has become dry and flaky. He scratches a lot and at times looks really fed up with the situation. Is there anything I can ad to his bath water to keep his skin from drying out so much?

Dear Elna: I would suggest a water softening system or perhaps using bottled water for the little guy. Cream rinses on dogs can be used but are messy.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1698) Amy asks: My severe macaw was diagnosed with diabetes. Is there no treatment for this? My vet told me the shots don't work on avian species, and thought about a crushed pill in the water, but then opted out of that idea too. He offered nothing in the way of diet, or any help whatsoever. I am trying to find a avian research facility close to Alabama to take him in at this point. I am doing nothing but watching my precious friend and baby die a slow death. Do you have any advice for me? Completely frustrated!

Dear Amy: Diabetes in birds can have several etiologies. If I were you, I'd check with Dr. Branson Ritchie at the University of Georgia or the endocrine specialist at the University of Tennessee for advice and a referral.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1697) Mark asks: We live in No. Calif. and have a Senegal and an African Grey. It is getting cold here and we were wondering what is the minimum temp. the birds can tolerate overnight?

Dear Mark: I would try to keep the house temperature above 64 deg. and cover the cages at night. A lot depends on the bird's health status and nutrition state.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1696) Michelle2 asks: Hi I breed a bunch of cockatiels and lately I've been having problems with feather lice and what's the best way to get rid of them and from them coming back.

Dear Michelle2: Clean the aviary frequently. You may have the aviary fumigated & treat each bird individually with a lice powder.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1695) Haley asks: My timmey grey was born with no sinuses... Is there any help to keep the drainage from oozing?

Dear Haley: I would learn how to do nasal washings & consider the use of purifiers & humidifiers.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1693) Wilma asks: Is possible to use terimycine for cockatiels?

Dear Wilma: Terramycin can be used but it isn't a drug of choice these days.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1692) Fletcher asks: What is a budgies body temperature

Dear Fletcher: 104.0 deg to 106.0 deg. It does vary from bird to bird.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1691) Bob asks: Can birds die from sudden loud noises?

Dear Bob: Usually not but a subclinically ill bird could be thrown into decompensation by any stress. Of course an extremely loud noise could send a bird into a shocklike state resulting in death.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1690) Betsy asks: What is the best temperature to keep sun conures at? They are in the house. They are for breeding and not as pets.

Dear Betsy: Room temperature is fine.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1689) Jane asks: My male canary has lost the feathers off his head and part of his neck. He acts normal in every other way by singing his heart out and he takes a bath daily. What could be happening and how do I help him?

Dear Jane: This could be a hormone imbalance, an abnormal molt, a genetic baldness condition, and a couple of other possible problems. Hormone treatments sometimes help.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1688) Joan asks: Is it necessary to keep my cockatiel on Allopurinol the rest of his life for gout. Is it a natural way of treating her without this medication. Thank you, Joan

Dear Joan: If the bird truly has gout (either from kidney damage or from overproduction uric acid) it will need Allopurinol for life. A kidney infection or inflammation sometimes causes this.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1687) Jamie asks: Hello. I was wondering if you have a listing of avian pathology labs in California that are able to diagnose PDD following a necropsy. Thank you so much.

Dear Jamie: Any of the labs that work with pet birds can make the diagnosis with a biopsy. We use California Avian Lab or the U.C. Davis lab at San Bernardino.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1686) Jessi asks: I am thinking about purchasing a baby quaker . How much are vet bills going to be yearly (including I have a bird in pretty much good health )? Including vaccines. - Thank you

Dear Jessie: This depends on what types of tests are done in the yearly exam. It would be best to visit an avian specialist and ask what they recommend. Mention you are on a budget.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1685) Steve asks: My quaker parrot is picking out all the feathers under his neck area down into it's breast. The skin is raw, and the new feathers as they come back are pulled out again. This seems to be getting worse each week. What can I do?

Dear Steve: Have a health work-up done. There are many possible causes of the problem.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1684) Tim asks: This is a follow up to the question I asked over the weekend about parrots and HIV. A man who would make a wonderful parent is considering adopting a parrot from one of his friends. The parrot needs to find a new home. The man is concerned because he has friends who are HIV positive, that come over to visit. The man is not HIV positive. However, he will not adopt a parrot if is HIV positive friends are not safe when they come to visit. So the actual question is/was can a person who is HIV positive safely visit someone who owns a parrot?

Dear Tim: The HIV person will be safe but be sure the bird is given a complete health work-up. It is probably best not to have "Outsiders" handle your bird in any case.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1683) Victoria asks: HI! My peached paced lovebird constantly picks on it's feathers, I rescued him from one family where little kids tortured him but know that he lives in quiet environment has good diet and clean cage and toys he still plucks them, he also has a wound that never healed cause he keeps picking on it, I don't know what to do, he is really sweet and likes to cuddle up under my shirt and nibble my ear, Do you think he needs a partner? Please help! I'll be happy with all the info you can provide> Thanks Again!

Dear Victoria: Have an avian veterinarian examine him. Ask about a biopsy for Lovebird Pox and a complete health work-up. These cases can be very complicated.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1682) Tim asks: Can a person who is HIV positive safely own a parrot that is properly checked, cared for and not exposed to other parrots?

Dear Tim: I would certainly say that a person who is HIV positive would benefit by parrot ownership. The bird should be tested for all the zoonetic diseases such as Psittacosis, Avian Tuberculosis, Salmonella, Giardiosis, etc.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1681) Pam asks: can you please tell me what the side effects if any, are to the drug ofloxacin 200mg 20mg/ml we are wondering if this could cause yeast of the mouth in birds thank you Pam

Dear Pam: Most antibiotics, if not used for excessive lengths of time, do not cause yeast infections. If antibiotics are required for over 2 weeks or if yeasts are present before treatment, monitor the flora with gram stains and treatment if necessary.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1680) Judy asks: will feathers that have been chewed grow back if half of the feather is still there? My bird is a Blue Front Amazon, 15 years old. I don't know why he did this, only did it for 1 day. Could he maybe have had an ant on him he was trying to get? I didn't see any. Thanks.

Dear Judy: As long as the feather follicle is intact, a new feather will grow.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1679) Peter asks: All my Canary's have Scaly Leg disease I have been using Ornascale, for 2 months and scalex for past 3 weeks and does not seem to be working. I have also tried baby oil with no luck I was told to use Ivermectin but I don't know where to purchase this any help would be appreciated. They have this for 1 year now and seems to have become much worse. Any help would greatly be appreciated. Thank You Peter Vekiarellis

Dear Peter: Ivermectin is available through veterinarians and veterinary supply catalogues. The latest treatment is Moxidectin (SCATT) which can be applied to the birds' backs.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1678) Scott asks: We are a breeder and we sold a sun conure to someone and they called us and said that the bird sometimes crosses his first two toes over each other. He is only five months old and he doesn't do it constantly. Is this something to worry about, we have never heard of this before and we don't know if it is hereditary or not. thank you

Dear Scott: This may have been due to an injury. It is possibly a hereditary defect. Hopefully, it won't effect the bird's well being.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1677) Elizabeth asks: I have a pair of African Greys , they had 2 eggs last year in may and another 2 in October last year . they had another 2 on 1st Jan but they have ate all three clutches. is there anything I can do to stop this and is there something wrong with them that they are doing this. Look forward to hearing from you soon yours Elizabeth

Dear Elizabeth: Some young birds destroy eggs at first and later stop with maturity and experience. Sometimes artificial incubation is the only solution. Have health work-ups been performed? Is anything bothering the birds during incubation?

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1676) Jackie asks: Six months ago I rescued a Mollucan that had very foul smelling droppings and picked tail and vent area. (Don't have any history prior to purchase 6 months ago) .Several test including cultures, stains and organ function test have showed that she has a very resistant overgrowth of E-coli contained to her g.i. We have tried many oral and injected antibiotics to no avail. Infection seems to only be temp. halted then reoccurs. Besides the foul smell, she is a very happy, sweet and perfectly feathered bird. She is 4 years old and on a strict Harrisons diet now. Any advise would be very much appreciated, we love her so much! Thank you, Jackie

Dear Jackie: The bird may have a partial cloacal prolapsed or other anatomic problem that prevents normal dropping passage. This tends to promote abnormal bacterial growth.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1675) Bridgette asks: I was wondering what is the safest type of paint to use on a bird cage?

Dear Bridgette: The paint be made for the cages and be lead and zinc free. Check with your experienced pet bird distributor. (Footnote; Karen the Parrot Lady recommends Rustolium, we use it on the cages all the time and make sure its dry before the bird gets back in the cage.)

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1674) Lynne asks: My B & G macaw has very limited motion in the last joint of both wings. He can extend them to only about a right angle. My vet can not feel anything wrong with the bones and says that an x-ray (taken for another purpose) doesn't show anything. I am his 3rd owner so I don't know his background. Can you guess what might cause this and whether anything could be done?

Dear Lynn: I suspect there is soft tissue damage from injury. The joints may have been hyperextended, causing ligament damage without bony involvement that would be seen on a radiograph.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1673) Michele asks: I have a 2 year old female cockatiel. She is laying eggs (that are not fertilized) and I have noticed that she keeps eating her droppings. I give her "nesting" food that is supposed to give her all the vitamins she needs. Is this normal ? If not, what can I do to stop it ?

Dear Michele: You have to give a mineral supplement. Dropping eating usually means that nutrients are needed. Laying eggs is a very draining process.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1672) Michelle asks: I adopted a three year old goffin cockatoo. When he first began throwing up, he was taken to the vet and she diagnosed him with lead poisoning. With his RBC count as low as it was, and because he was neglected at his old home, she assumed he had it for a long time. He was treated for it. Still he will throw up on occasion and has undigested stools during the same times. My vet believes that it isn't PDD since he has gained weight and doesn't have seizures or any apparent psychological disorders. Also he will be fine for a few weeks then he will get sick again for a few days...then back to normal and so on. His appetite is normal, and he eats well. One thing that he has had since I adopted him, is that he has one toe on hi foot that is white and instead of dark gray/black...the vet never seemed concerned but it seems important to vet says maybe irritable bowl or a food allergy..any advice would be helpful on either of those or something else. thankyou!

Dear Michelle: We usually approach these cases with complete health work-ups. This would include blood work with full organ function tests, oral and cloacal cultures, & radiographs. Sometimes repeat work-ups must be done when the problem exacerbates. You may be dealing with an anatomic abnormality, a recurrent pathogen & several other possibilities.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1671) Roberto asks: I have a Panama Amazon. She persistently keeps preening herself desperately as if she has mites in her feathers. I have taken her on three occasions to the vet and he has injected some steroids on her. I also have used Zema's Kill-A-Mite Spray with no results. Also I have cleaned her cage, toys, feeders and walls and floor near her with disinfectants given to me by the vet. She has not picked feathers off yet, but I'm afraid that she might in the future if this situation persists. What is the next step that I have to follow, then ? Thanks for any help you could give me. Roberto

Dear Roberto: This over preening could be due to a myriad of possible problems. It is very rare to see mites on Amazons. Try to find an avian specialist & ask for a complete work-up. Good Luck.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1670) Julie asks: my daughter has a sun conure. A few months ago he got his foot (claw) caught in the carpet. He has had a hard time using it ever since. She took him to the vet (general) after it happened and he told her that the foot was sprained and to leave him alone and it would take a few weeks to heal. It has not healed, he is still favoring it and having a hard time getting around. What can we do? We live in a small community with no specialized veterinarian services. Is there anything we can do ourselves?

Dear Julie: Sprains are common in parrots. It this case there may have been nerve damage or a fracture. The bird may heal in time. Ask if the veterinarian can radiograph the bird.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1669) Michelle asks: Why do you send a blood feather off to be tested?

Dear: Michelle: Sometimes veterinarians are looking for abnormal bacteria in the feather fluid. Sometimes the veterinarian is having cytology done. Sometimes viral tests are requested.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1668) Sarah asks: My five year old green cheek conure has been getting red spots on the bottom of her feet several times in the past few years. We have had her treated by a vet. She gave her antibiotics in liquid form, then in an injection. This cleared up the red spots but now she has a white spot on her toe. The spot looks almost like a blister. It is not sensitive to the touch. She is not favoring the foot. However it seems like she cannot bend this toe properly. She has a good diet of pelleted food and fresh foods.

Dear Sarah: Ask for diagnostic tests. This could be gout or a joint infection.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1667) Simon asks: A cockatiels prone to carrying diseases more than any other species of bird?

Dear Simon: Cockatiels can carry a myriad of diseases but I wouldn't say more than other birds. Conures are thought to carry more diseases than other birds.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1666) Marie asks: I have a six month old parrotlet. I had his wings clipped two weeks ago, just before going on vacation for one week. When I got back from my vacation, I noticed he has been chewing on one of his wings (the feathers that were clipped) and appears to be trying to shred them. He is completely occupied with his chewing! Did they clip his wings too short? Thanks, Marie

Dear Marie: It is possible the wings were clipped to short. Perhaps a blood feather is present. Occasionally bird, prone to picking will do this, despite a proper clip. Seek a veterinary opinion.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1665) Tracy asks: Hi, I have a red fronted male Kakariki, who is three years old. I have recently noticed that he is losing feathers around his eyes and ears. Should I be concerned? Please contact me if you have any information. Thank you.

Dear Tracy: I would be concerned about a sinus infection. Have a veterinarian examine the bird.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1664) Jennifer asks: I was wondering if a bird needs to go to the vet for shots or anything like that thanks

Dear Jennifer: The bird should go to the veterinarian for regular checkups and appropriate tests. In some areas, vaccinations are given as well.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1663) Than asks: what is it about parrots that make them talk but other type of animals can't talk.

Dear Than: This is a good question The parrots and other bird species (Starlings, Mynahs, Others) have a voice box (syrinx) that allows vocalization. Most animals don't have such a voice box.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1662) Concetta asks: I have two parakeets and one is sick. I took him to the vet and the vet informed me that he has a tumor under his lower bellie. He said there is nothing he can do and that I can either put the bird to sleep or just let him live out the rest of his life. He is eating and still plays with the other bird, just not as much. This is why I will not put him to sleep. My question to you is, "Is there something that can be done for my little feathered friend?" I just need a second opinion. Please right back soon. Thank you, Concetta

Dear Concetta: Budgies can have benign fatty growths in this area. Sometimes these shrink with low fat diets and thyroid supplementation. If the bird is ill and this growth is hard and irregular, the mass may be a malignancy. Seek a second opinion.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1661) Lara asks: My parakeet has weird growth on his cere, it looks like it started to grow suddenly. What could cause this, how can I fix it, and will it hurt him?

Dear Lara: If it is a young bird it may be mange (easy to treat). If it is a female it could be a benign brown hypertrophy of the cere. Tumors are not uncommon in mature Budgies. Have an avian veterinarian diagnose the problem for you.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1660) Suzi asks: We have a 2 year old cockatiel taken care of by my 13 year old daughter. The bird does everything with her - she handles it constantly. Little by little, her feathers have been either falling out or being rubbed out (from handling and petting ??) and they are slow to grow back, if at all. We keep her wings clipped, but these wing feathers do not come back any more. Her tail feathers have been pulled out by her and they have not come back in either. Once they tried growing in and the bird pulled them out when they became a little longer. We feed her seeds, and have introduced fruit, vegetables and cheese into her diet, but she never touches the vegetables or fruit. I fear she is suffering from a vitamin deficiency. Am I right? How can we get her feathers to grow back and become shiny and straight again? Should my daughter abstain from handling her so much? She also "scratches" the bird on the neck and her feathers always look disheveled. Is this wrong? PS THANK YOU Karen!

Dear Suzi: Have the bird examined by an avian veterinarian. Unless your daughter is compulsively injuring the bird (doubtful), I would suspect a virus or other serious disease problems.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1659) Denise asks: After my beloved parakeet recently died, I purchased a blue masked lovebird at a pet store. They told me that it had been hand-fed and was approximately "a couple of months old". I would like to know if there is any way that I can tell how old this lovebird is and if he was actually hand-fed. Thanks for your help.

Dear Denise: A hand-fed young Lovebird will be extremely tame and will have big eyes and a youthful look. Have an experience bird club member or a knowledgeable veterinarian give you an opinion.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1658) Dick asks: Our African Grey, 7 years old, died recently. Signs were feather picking and seemed less active (about one month before death). Took him to an avian vet who treated him for a "psychological problem" 2 weeks before death. Couldn't agree with diagnosis, so took him to another vet 2 weeks later. He died when they were drawing blood. Had autopsy (U of M). Report showed impacted gizzard and a small colony of Pasteurella in the lungs. Nothing else appeared out of ordinary. We feel we let him down, and are devastated. Can you help us understand this?

Dear Dick: Parrots are famous for hiding symptoms. It is always best to do lab tests on any feather picking bird before assuming the problem is psychological. Many feather picking African Greys have psychological problems, however. It is best to assume a parrot might be ill if suddenly starts picking & act less active. Symptom masking is thought to be due to 1. pecking order concerns & 2. Fear of getting picked on by other birds who are trying to rid a flock of sick members who might attract predators to the group.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1657) Simone asks: I have 2 male budgies (6 & 7 years old). They are great friends. One of them has been showing symptoms of 'sour crop' for the past 2 months. My vet has emptied the crop several times. The bird also had 2 injections of antibiotics, but does not seem to get better. The yellow/white fluid keeps building up every so often. The bird eats and drinks all right, is quite alert but EXTREMELY fluffed up, cuddling up to his mate and sleeping most of the time. I do not know what to do with him any more.

Dear Simone: There are many possibilities. Ask for diagnostic tests to look for bacteria, yeasts, & protozoa such as Trichimonas.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1652) Ronda asks: My 7 year old cockatiel Sweetie has been drinking LOTS of water for about two weeks now and she has VERY wet droppings. She has been to the vet and her blood work showed that everything seemed fine except for high cholesterol and triglcerides. The vet suggested I put her on a lower fat diet(Harrisons recommended), but we are still looking for a cause for the wet droppings. Sweetie eats well, is playful, and affectionate. Her other symptoms are a slight tremor(doesn't seem related to nervousness), a prolonged molt, increased thirst, and extremely wet droppings. Sweetie is not thin---her weight is 105 grams. Thanks for your help.

Dear Ronda: Ask to have a urinalysis done. Sometimes this is the only way to diagnose Kidney disease. Have a gram stain and culture been done? Is there s chance of zinc or lead toxicity? Ask about these things.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1651) Eva asks: I recently read online that air freshener candles, like Glade, are hazardous to birds. Does this hold true for ALL candles, or is it just this specific type? Thanks for your help!

Dear Eve: Any airborne chemicals are potentially dangerous to birds because of their air sac system. You need to be cautious with any of these products.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

(1650) Eileen asks: I have a red factor female canary 6 yrs. old. She is a good eater plenty of seed, millet, veg, egg. She is in a cage by herself, other birds nearby. lately she has been losing her feathers around her head. I keep a heat lamp close by for her, she seems pretty active her droppings are all right. She is not plucking the feathers, loves to take a bath each day. Is there something I can get for her over the counter that will help. I don't have the money right now for the vet. Any help you can give me would be appreciated. yours truly.

Dear Eileen: There are many possibilities. Sometimes a localized molt can occur. She's not to close to the lamp, is she? There are genetics and hormonal problems that can cause baldness in canaries.

W. J. Rosskopf, Jr. DVM, Dipl-ABVP-Avian

Dr. Rosskopf graduated in 1969 from the University of California Davis and was board certified in Avian Practice in 1994. He has been a veterinarian in private exotic practice for over 29 years, and is the co-owner of the Avian and Exotic Animal Hospital located in Hawthorne, California. And if this isn't enough, he has lectured extensively both domestically and in other counties including Canada, Australia, and Japan; authored over 200 scientific articles; been the Speaker at over 200 veterinary conventions in the last 15 years; and holds the record of being asked to speak 75 times at the prestigious Association of Avian Veterinarians' convention.

He was also the president of the Association of Avian Veterinarians 1987-1988. Dr. Rosskopf is a recognized pioneer in numerous Avian Medical and Surgical techniques, and the author of over 20 textbook chapters on Avian subjects in such books as the Merek Manual, Current Veterinarian Therapy, Saunders Manual of small Animal Practice, and North American Veterinary Clinics.

Dr. Rosskopf has also been an instructor in Avian Medicine at Oregon State University Veterinarian Conference for veterinarian students and practicing vets, for 14 years; he has taught Avian Medicine for Mississippi State Veterinarian school for 4 years; regularly teaches at Washington State University; taught a month long Avian Medicine course in Japan as well as in Australia.

Sunshine "It was at this point he was asked to stop or we wouldn't have room for your questions! . . . See why I am so proud to introduce him."

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