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Dr. Rob is a world renowned avian veterinarian in Sydney, Australia. He was the veterinary consultant for the Northern Territory Nature and Conservation Commission for a scientific study of the disease status in the wild population of the endangered Gouldian Finches as it related to a "Recovery Plan".



Tailai O’Brien is a Parrot Behavior Consultant who has worked along side Dr. Marshall and has developed special regimes for successful bird training and behavioral development. Fill out her Questionnaire so that she may help you with your parrot’s bad behavior.

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Janet Martin from Clearfield, PA asks: Can Parakeets get arthritis?
Hello Janet, In my experience, it is rare for Parakeets to get arthritis. My suggestion would be to use natural products like glucosamine if you feel your pet bird may have developed arthritis. All the Best, Rob

Barbara Pawson from Michigan asks: My son's Quaker Parakeet has a warm beak. It is supposed to be warm, right? Sometimes I notice it and sometimes I don't. So, I wondered it is something that varies. Or is it a health indicator ie: a dog and his cold nose. Thanks so much for your help
Hello Barbara, It is perfectly okay for your son's Quaker parakeet to have a warm beak. It is nothing to worry about. All the Best, Rob

Lyn Steiger from New York asks: I have a few Gouldians w/overgrown or crossed beaks. One seemed always fluffed up & inactive so treated her with Colloidal Silver and she is now bouncy & active. Does this suggest I have polyomavirus in my aviary? I have two young hens from last year's hatching that are now appearing puffed up, sleeping a lot and very slow to complete their first moult - could they have the polyomavirus as well? Will a treatment of Colloidal Silver in their water or fed directly help these others? What do you suggest I do to help the remaining birds? Thank you
Hello Lyn, The condition that you describe with the overgrown and crossed beaks does sound like Polyomavirus. Once contracted, it is a life-long disease that can be spread to baby birds when the virus is being shed by carrier birds. It is best to support health with my Health Programmes and to prevent other infections that are opportunistic in weakened birds. Other signs of exposure to Polyomavirus are feathering abnormalities, which could be what you are seeing in your 2 young hens. Birds carrying the Polyomavirus will go through periods of health and weakness throughout their lives, which is why it is important to limit their exposure to disease throughout their lives. All the Best, Rob

Elizabeth DeLaurentis from Oceanside, CA asks: One of my 4 Gouldian's has overnight developed some kind of scale or pieces of plaque or scales sticking out on it's feet. All four are boys and are in one cage. I have this same condition on my canary, but he's in a different cage. Since I've been using the health program/products in the water & on the food the canary is better but they've never gone away. Any suggestions? The Gouldians are molting, other than that things seem normal.
The problem with your bird's feet sounds like scaley foot mites, and the disease process is often referred to as "tasselfoot". An application of undiluted S76, rubbed gently on the feet with a cotton bud, one day per week, while also adding the S76 to the drinking water for 2 consecutive days each week should clear up this condition in both of your birds. This procedure should be used for approximately 6 weeks. It can sometimes take even longer for the dead growths on the foot margins to fall off the feet after the mites have died. Best of Luck, Rob

Frances Cabrera from New York asks: Is it normal for a female Zebra Finch to sleep all day long?
Hello Frances, No, it isn't normal for any bird to sleep all day long. This is one of the indications that there is something wrong. I would suggest that you place this hen near a heat source so that she can conserve her energy to heal, rather than using it to keep warm. I would also offer her a glucose/electrolyte/vitamin/mineral supplement like NV Powder or Quik-Gel to keep her hydrated until an assessment can be made to whatever the problem may be. All the Best, Rob

Elaine Anuth from Staten Island, New York asks: We just lost our 22 month old fife canary to a suspected case of air sac mites. He was purchased from a breeder at 17 months of age and he sang and ate well for about 3 months and then went into the molt for 2 and one-half months. The last month he appeared to sit quietly on the bottom for brief periods in the afternoon but then perked up afterwards. Last week we came home to find him on the bottom of the cage and in the morning he couldn't get up on the perch. We took him to an avian vet and she thought it might be respiratory mites and treated him with oral Ivermectin and told us to give him doxycycline. He suffered terribly for seven hours and died. How could he have contracted the mites, he was our only bird and seemed so healthy when we got him?
Hello Elaine, All Canaries and Lady Gouldian Finches are very susceptible to air-sac mites. So much so, that they should be routinely treated for these mites every 3 months. I don't think that the question is "how did he contract these mites". He most certainly had at least the nymph stage of this mite in his respiratory tract when you purchased him. This could be the case, even if the breeder had just treated him the day that you purchased him, because the products that we have available to kill air-sac mites, kills only the adult mite, not the nymphs. These nymphs can lay in dormancy for months, but they tend to mature into adults and start the process all over again during times of stress for the bird, which indeed the molt would have been. The reason that your canary died after the treatment was because once the Ivermectin killed the excessive number of mites, they clumped up inside his respiratory tract, he was unable to get air throughout his body, and he suffocated. This is unfortunate, but there was no way that your vet could have known that he was that heavily infested. That is why it is so very important to treat for these mites on a regular basis, in order to prevent the numbers from becoming excessive again. Please don't let this stop you from getting another canary and experiencing the joy of his song. All the Best, Rob

Christine Milano from Connecticut asks: One of my Gouldians woke up this morning with his eyelids literally stuck together. I caught him and gently touched each eye with a wet finger and they came unstuck, but I'm concerned he may be ill. Should I take him to my avian vet?
Hello Christine, I would take him to your avian vet so that he/she can determine the source of the mucus/discharge that caused the eyes to be stuck shut. All the Best, Rob

Courtney Folk from Columbia, SC asks: Hi Dr Rob, I recently set up a pair of Gouldians to nest, and after laying several eggs, the female became very sick and lethargic. I had been feeding her Abba 1900 seed, mineral grit, egg food/meal, and fresh eggs and veggies every day. I also was adding calcium to her water. Her first symptoms were a bubbling/gurgling sound followed by actual bubbles at her beak, a sneezing behavior, I assume to get the fluid off her beak, and a very weak body. I originally thought it was egg binding, however she was able to pass droppings. I had been giving her Saniclens and Calciboost in her water previous to her sickness, and added calcium directly to her beak when she fell ill. I also gave her heat lamps and a heated perch. After a couple of days of this, I put her on Amoxitex. Nothing helped and 5 days later she died. Do you have any idea why this happened? Also, some of my societies and gouldians will occasionally open their mouths like they are panting when near the top of their aviaries. I thought it was just because it was hot, but after reading your postings I am wondering if it is air sac mites? I have been treating them with s76 as directed. Thanks for your help with this.
Hello Courtney, I believe that the bubbling/gurgling that you saw coming from your hen's mouth could have been a disease called Trichomonas. It is caused by a protozoal parasite and can be treated with products containing Ronidazole. It is always a good idea to treat regularly with products like S76 to keep your birds free of air-sac mites. All the Best, Rob

Courtney Folk from Columbia, SC asks: I recently purchased a female gouldian who has a rather long beak and her eyes appear to have thick eyelids- she's not keeping her eyes closed per se, but does look a little funny. She is occasionally tucking her head during the day for a few minutes at a time, is eating well, and has a clean vent, and is as active as the rest of the birds I have. Should I do anything about her heavy eyelids at this point? I know this sounds strange, but her eyes just aren't as alert as the other Gouldians I have. Thanks for your help in advance! Courtney
Hello Courtney, This is a sign that your hen is not feeling well. She needs a look by an avian vet. Best of Luck, Rob

Tammy Boneburg from Kalamazoo, MI asks: Hi Dr. Rob, I have a 6 year old parakeet named Leonardo. He had a bout with the feather mites and the beak rot back in March. I had him on Ivermectin at the time and his beak healed and looks great now. It has been growing though and I have to have it trimmed every week. I don't know why that is happening. Any ideas on why this is occurring would be appreciated. He also had the feather mite/moth eaten appearance around his nose, near his eyes and by his ears. The Ivermectin did help and almost all his feathers started to grow back and as I mentioned before, his beak was looking great! Recently, the weather has been very hot here in Michigan lately and the feather mites came back. He is loosing his feathers again! I purchased S76 and I am on the third week with it. I have been putting it in his drinking water three times a week and I have also been applying it with a Q-tip to the patch above his nose where this is occurring. How long should I keep doing this? I have noticed a few pin feathers coming back but I am concerned that he has lost some weight. He is very chipper still, talks, and preens himself and acts pretty normal. Can you recommend any food supplement I can give him to keep his weight up? I have cleaned and bleached all the toys and the cage and was going to buy some Pestex as well to keep the cage clean. Is there anything else I can do for him? He is a white rare parakeet with a periwinkle chest and I know his immune system has been low because he is a light parakeet and he has had the feather mite problem for awhile. Thanks so much for your help. Tammy Boneburg
Hello Tammy, Recurrent cnemidocoptes mange is related to immunosuppression and nutritional imbalance. Your bird needs to go on TurboBooster, ePowder and F-Vite daily. KD Water Cleanser one day each week, and DufoPlus/Ioford combo two days each week. It is completing it's molt and will be coming into breeding condition so again is now more susceptible to mite infestations. Stop S76 WHEN THE MITES DISAPPEAR, THEN USE IT AS A PREVENTATIVE ONCE A MONTH in the Summer months and every 3 months otherwise. All the Best, Rob