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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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Lesley from San Diego asks: I have canaries with a fungal skin infection which has been identified as Malassezia. They have preen gland infections which have not responded to antibiotics. They were treated with Sporonox but this was discontinued as their general health deteriorated and no improvement was seen in the fungal condition. Can you suggest how to treat the preen gland infection and the fungus. Any help would be appreciated
Hello Lesley, Malassezia is a Candida (Thrush) infection and should be treated with Fungilin or Mycostatin. The birds should be given a KD Water Cleanser bath daily and the aviary disinfected. Malassezia is a water or moisture related problem. Check the humidity levels in the aviary. It can also occur as a part of a Vitamin A deficiency. Follow the Ongoing Health Programme to prevent recurrence. All the Best, Rob

Lynn Durnin from Langley, BC asks: Dr Rob, I have a male Gouldian who as of yesterday I noticed him acting funny. He was sitting on his perch (and I happened to be watching him) and he all of sudden seemed to loose control of his right leg. He couldn't perch. He flew to the sides of the cage and hung on. He finally made it back to the perch and it was like his leg would slip from under him. Later that evening he seemed fine but now this a.m. he is all puffed up (sitting on the perch) and sleeping. What could be wrong with him and what can I do?
Hello Lynn, The condition that you describe sounds like possibly a muscle spasm. The most common cause is a fungal toxin. Check for excessive humidity and mold in cage or nestbox. Or possibly contaminated sprouts or soaked seed. All the Best, Rob

Marcoa from Jamaica asks: Hello, since the last five days one of my male Gouldians have been fluffed up and sitting quiet by himself. I separated him from the other but he is getting worse. He is eating very little now as he is weak. I notice now that he is twitching, primarily when he is at rest. I added Tetracycline to his water but quite frankly I am not sure if he is ingesting enough. Could you please let me know what type of disease could cause this twitching. I am worried because tonight I noticed another male is also starting to twitch in his sleep.
Hello Marcos, The twitching may be related to a fungal infection or calcium deficiency. Give him KD Powder in his water for 5 days and check the soft foods or soaked seed for fungal contamination. All the Best, Rob

Kathy Curtis from Oklahoma asks: My male Gouldian retains lots of poop on his bottom. He seems to keep trying to flick his tail to get it off but it won't drop. Does he have diarrhea or is he constipated? His stools are somewhat wet, light brown with a white knob. My husband and I caught him yesterday and washed him up but it’s back worse than before AND it seemed to really upset him. Your advice would really be appreciated.
Hello Kathy, Droppings that stick to the vent feathers indicate a "sticky" dropping (Thrush, fungal toxin or dehydration) or dry feathers (due to bowel infection or a nutritional imbalance. My first approach would be KD powder in the drinking water and Turbobooster, E-Powder and F-vite coated on the seeds for three days then look for a positive result. All the Best, Rob

Kate from Long Beach, CA asks: Hi Dr. Rob: I have an outdoor mixed aviary, including Gouldians with chicks in the nest. I suspect there may be a respiratory infection/problem, as some of my birds, mostly recently fledged babies, have been open mouth breathing, almost gasping at times, and seem to be out of breath quickly; a couple of fledglings have died. I have treated with Ivermectin (but hear no clicking sounds). Is there a safe antibiotic, such as Amtyl that can be added to the water, even with the chicks present? Thanks.
Hello Kate, The problem that you describe sounds like it could be Aspergillosis which is a fungal air-way blockage. Check for moulding disease. KD would be good. Streptococcus does not cause these symptoms unless a severe pneumonia is present also, so Amtyl may not be the best choice. Let us know what you find. Rob

Yifati from Israel asks: Hi Dr Rob! I have 1 Gouldian Finch that have a sharpness at his chest. He doesn't have an appetite and he is swollen :-( What should i do? What medication will be good for him in this case? What dosage to give? Thanks a lot! and have a nice day :)
This does not sound good. This is referred to as going light. It may be a peritonitis or uterus infection if it were a hen bird. Other things this could result from are a nutritional problem or fungal contamination of food. The outlook is not so good, I am sorry to have to say. Rob

Susan Gibson from California asks: Hi Dr. Rob! I Have a question for you. I have a 1 year old Nandy Conure and he has recently has been diagnosed with PDD. My bird eats soft seeds as pellets are too harsh for him to digest. I also hand-feed him the Exact Hand Feeding Baby Formula from Kay Tee. In addition I add in a multi-vitamin and mineral powder for extra nutrition. Medicine-wise my bird is on Batryl, Flagyl, and Meloxicam to help fight infection and provide pain relief. He is also on Cimedidine and Metaproclamid to help settle his upset stomach in times of painful intestinal swelling. The infection is currently down by half under the current antibiotic regimen but won't go down any further. My ultimate goal is to wean him off his current meds (over time). I am looking to re-jumpstart the bird's immune system and to bring back into play the correct flora/immune system defense mechanisms. I need your recommendations on nutrition as well as pre-probiotic and probiotic recommendations What is puzzling me is that my bird is not passing whole seeds like a PDD bird would and his fecal is a consistent homogenized looking mass, sometimes broken up by bouts of diarrhea. So now I'm wondering if we're looking at a lead or zinc poisoning. The doctor did say way back in July that his toxicity levels were very, very high and if I had allowed him to eat any padlocks or metal rings and I said no. But we have introduced a new cage which might have been sprayed white prior to 1996 and might very well contain high levels of zinc which are creating the same symptoms as full blown PDD. If that is the case what kind of chelation therapy would you recommend? I don't want to put the bird back through another extensive blood test as he might not make it the next time around. He’s ok now but why chance it? Should the vet do a GI flush or would that be too much for him as well? Any particular injections the vet should do? Anything you can suggest would help tremendously. Thank you Dr. Rob
PDD = Proventricular Dilation Disease. PDD is a virus infection that causes inflammation of the nerves that supply the proventriculus (stomach) and other digestive organs including the crop, ventriculus (gizzard) and small intestine. The result is a poorly functional crop, stomach and gizzard that becomes susceptible to secondary infection and gas build up. The most common symptoms include constant or intermittent vomiting (regurgitation), weight loss, depression and sometimes passage of undigested food in the droppings. The passage of food through the gastro-intestinal tract is delayed, which then predisposes the stasis of food contents and secondary infection. Crop stasis is an especially common problem with this disease and every effort must be taken to protect the food in the crop from developing bacterial and yeast fungus overgrowth as this then will infect lower parts of the system. KD Powder and Megamix are ideally suited to help with the control of secondary infection associated with PDD. With this particular case, it would be prudent to initiate treatment and wean off other medicines, especially BAYTRIL (a common cause of Candida infections in finches, pigeons, canaries and parrots). The Cimedidine functions to change the acidity in the stomach region - it decreases acidity levels. My understanding is that acidity levels associated with proventriculus (stomach) problems actually decrease to become too alkaline and my approach would be to stop Cimedidine . My approach to this complicated and poorly understood disease is as follows. Please also talk to your attending veterinarian about this approach. 1. Manage all secondary infections when they cause clinical signs. A Penicillin antibiotic and Amphotericin (Antifungal Tablets) may be a good choice. 2. Concentrate on a seed diet that is free of all germs. eg. Irradiate the seed (Gamma irradiation 10.0 kGy) or have it culture tested. 3. Supplement diet with an irradiated, fine powdered hand rearing mix (I recommend Roudybush parrot hand rearing mix). 4. Add 6 drops of Turbobooster (immune modulates and contains special preservatives that will help stabilize abnormal gut flora) once each day to hand rearing mix. 5. Add 6 drops of Dufoplus and 6 drops of Ioford to handrearing mix for one meal for two consecutive days each week. 6. On 100gm seed give 6 drops of Turbobooster and 1/4 teaspoon of Epowder daily. For three days each week add 1/4 teaspoon of Fvite to this mix. 7. Add KD Powder to drinking water for two consecutive days each week. This may be added to drinking water daily if there is a good response. (Megamix should be added to drinking water each other day if KD is not required every day. But do not mix them together.) Birds with PDD usually drink a lot of water. 8. I would not recommend Probiotics at this stage. All the best, Rob

J & B from Nebraska asks: I have a couple of Gouldian finches that make a very loud clicking noise, mainly at night. Could you tell me what causes this? I have 3 females and 2 males in a 4x3x2 flight cage.
Hello, The clicking noise is most likely a result of an upper respiratory tract inflammation, which may be related to increased humidity at night or air-sac mites. Treat with KD powder for 5 days and re-assess. If the clicking noise stops after KD Powder treatment, a bacterial or Thrush problem is confirmed. If it continues, then treat with S76 for air-sac mites. All the best, Rob

Stuart Culp from 32 Chateau Dr. Whitesboro, NY 13492 asks: Clara, our female Gouldian, has developed Scaly Face Infection. We are relatively new to birds and have not administered any treatments to our collection yet. Given the options of: 1. S76 administered in drinking water, 2. S76 applied to the skin, and, 3. Scatt applied to the skin, which treatment method would be the most satisfactory? Regarding the application of medication to the skin: Some literature says to apply "a drop" to the skin behind the neck. Other literature states that you apply a drop for each 30 grams of bird weight. Since a Gouldian weighs 10 to 15 grams (I suppose), that would amount to about 1/3 to 1/2 a drop. How does one go about measuring and applying that amount of liquid? Stu Culp
Hello Stuart, It is easiest to administer the S76 through the drinking water. This causes less stress on the birds through having to catch each one up and will take into account the dosage problem you mentioned with small finches. However scaly face mite is relatively uncommon in Gouldians. Rob

Lynda Snyder from Pittsburgh, PA asks: Hi, I have a 6 month old Gouldian that got puffy, going thru first molt. I put him in hospital cage with heat lamp, for about the past month. Then noticed a lot of watery poop, so I gave Baytril for 3 days then probiotics for 3 days. He was doing better until 2 days ago I noticed he was not using his toes when perching, next day his feet looked swollen and red. Today there are areas of black, which I am assuming is gangerene. He is still eating and perching, but is looking a bit frazzeled. What can I do to help this poor little guy, and what do you think is wrong with his feet? I have a very good close-up picture of his feet, if there is a way I can send it? Thanks in advance for any input.
Hello Lynda, I have seen this with fungal toxins. Check your food quality, humidity levels and water hygiene. Put the bird on KD Water Cleanser for 5 days and reassess. Also, warm KD foot baths everyday might also help him. All the Best, Rob