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Worried about sick cockatiel

813 Views 3 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  pecaxx
Hi everyone,

Just joined the forum today (hello!) in search of some advice about our pet cockatiel!

Quick background:

About 18 months ago, we inherited two cockatiels from an elderly family member. We don't know much about their history, but we're pretty certain they're older birds (i.e. not babies/young), and we think one's a girl, one's a boy - based on appearance/behaviour, but without tests we can't be 100%. They were never tamed, so unfortunately they don't like being touched or handled (in fact will bite if anyone tries etc) although in the time we've had them, they've certainly become more friendly - will come up to the cage and not move away etc. In the time we've had them, they've both been very active and noisy - playing with toys, singing lots of songs, moving around the cage, etc. About 3-4 months ago, we moved them into a bigger cage which they've settled really well into and seem much happier in it.

The issue:

About 2-3 weeks ago, we noticed the male becoming more withdrawn and holding up one foot more often than usual - then we noticed some blood on one of the perches. A check of the cage found one of their branches had a sharper point where they must have chewed it (which was promptly removed along with others like it). So we naturally assumed he'd hurt his foot (though couldn't see anything obviously wrong by looking). He was still walking normally though - no limping or wincing, just seems to hold it up a bit more.

We kept an eye on him, he seemed to get better but then a few days later, seemed to get worse again - holding his foot up a lot, sleeping a lot etc. We then took him to the vet, who couldn't see anything obvious except some callouses underfoot, but nothing that should be causing pain/problem. He prescribed a course of antibiotics (Baytril) and painkiller (Metacam) plus injected him with some during the visit.

That evening, after the visit, he was regurgitating/vomiting a little bit (not sure if it was the stress - he was screaming in the visit - v. unhappy) or the treatment... but that subsided and he hasn't done it since. But he immediately seemed to perk up and was visually less fluffed, moving around more etc. But the next day, back to 'sick'. We've been giving him his daily medication now for 4 days (today will be the 5th day) but he doesn't really seem to be improving.

He is eating, drinking, nibbling his lettuce/cuttlefish etc. as normal, and when he moves around the cage, he doesn't limp or show signs of pain or problems - he can move around without losing balance. His poo looks normal. He isn't making any strange movements or sounds. It's just that he has been noticeable and unusually subdued, lethargic and quiet - doesn't make any chirpy noises anymore, and doesn't really do anything except sleep. In the 18 months we've had him, this is the first time he's been like this (so thinking this rules out molting as surely we'd have noticed this before if it was that). Plus of course the blood and perch suggests there may have been injury, even though the vet didn't see any obvious damage when he checked.

Our other cockatiel seems in perfect health - completely normal, no sign of sickness and the usual noisiness!

We're just worried and not sure what the next steps should be or what else we should ask to be done? Does anyone have any ideas on what we could request as a test, or check ourselves, or any experience with this sort of thing? Is it normal for them to take so long to get better for example? We want to do the right thing but also aware of how stressful the vet visit was so want to minimise any stress as much as possible. We think maybe he is holding his foot up a bit less than he was, but that's the only possible improvement so far :(

Thank you so much in advance!
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Hello! I hope your bird will get well soon. I am not the best at recognizing and diagnosing birds but i will try giving you some advice. Was he sleeping when he used to put his leg up a lot? If so then that is normal (not normal if he sleeps all day). It is actually worse if he sleeps with both feet on the ground, meaning he is losing strenght. I don't know how you would treat him at home, I would maybe take him to the vet again and take some blood to detirmen exactly what it is before its too late. What i know is healthy and what i gave my bird when she was sick was some apple cider vinegar in her water. Just a few drops, not more. Again i wish the bird a fast and full recovery, i know how scary it is when they are sick. ❤
Hi pecaxx, thank you for your reply, and for your positive wishes x

He was holding his leg up while standing (not just sleeping), but also doing it when sleeping too - but he has been sleeping pretty much all day which is why we've noticed he's definitely not right. The apple cider sounds like a good tip, we will try that - and if things worsen the blood tests sound like an idea via the vet.

But...... great news (so far) - we gave him his usual Baytril meds this evening, and not too long after it's like he just improved instantly! He's gone from sleeping all day, to being more active, flapping his wings, and chirping and making more noise, which he hasn't done in a good week or two (even after the vet visit and injection).

It must be the magic of having written this post this morning 😅

Of course, he may drop again by tomorrow so not counting chickens just yet, but this is really encouraging! We are keeping fingers and toes crossed that this is the start of his recovery. Shall keep you all posted 🤞
Those are great news! I am glad your little friend is getting better, hope he gets fully recovered.
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