27
Jul

Letters to Dr. Hannon: Sick Cockatiel

Dear Dr. Hannon,

Our pet cockatiel, Nippy, has been sleeping a lot lately.  I thought he looked fat, but my dad says that he’s got all of his feathers fluffed up because he’s cold.  Is he trying to hibernate?

- New Bird Owner


Dear New-B,

Your cockatiel is very sick and needs medical attention immediately.

Birds don’t hibernate, they migrate.

The only domestic birds are chickens and ducks, so even captive bred cockatiels and most other birds in the pet trade are wild animals at heart.  And being wild animals, their instinct is too hide their illness as long as possible, because in the wild sick birds usually get eaten by something else.

If your bird is acting sleepy and staying fluffed, then he has been sick for some time, and now he is too sick to hide it.  That means that you don’t have much time.  If you have a regular veterinarian, call their office and ask them if they regularly treat birds.  Many vets don’t.  If they don’t, then ask them who they would recommend.  You may also be able to find an avian vet in the phone book, or you can contact the Association of Avian Veterinarians (www.aav.org) to find a member of their organization in your area.

Please don’t waste any time.

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