Examining A Sick Bird
This list of things to check for when examining a sick bird was compiled by fellow pigeons.com member, Marian. Being able to answer these questions is very helpful to people trying to help you diagnose your bird.
(Info to include when describing a medical problem. This form is mainly for illness, not
injury. However, an injury can result in illness, so if injury is known, include that info
Pigeon help line:
Primary symptoms that you first noticed: (here, the owner just writes what primary
symptoms he is seeing (The more specific info to fill in is below-fill in whatever is
How long have you had the bird?
Where did it come from?
Have the cages, food and particularly the water dishes been kept clean?
If a long-standing pet, have any new birds been added?
Info on the new bird, as above?
When did you first notice the symptoms?
Are the symptoms worsening?
Is the bird baby, juvenile or adult?
What does the diet consist of?
What do the droppings look like (color, odor, consistency)?
Attitude and Posture? ( alert, normal behavior, erect posture// or still, fluffed, quiet,
eyes shut, uncaring of surroundings, slumped, drooping wings or tail)
Eyes? (clear, bright, open// or half closed, runny, dull, swollen area above, below or
Sinuses? (nares and eyes clean, without discharge, close-mouthed and effortless
breathing// or swollen area around eye, wet feathers around nares or eye, wet cere, from
any discharge, sneezing. Any open-mouth breathing, respiratory distress, overall body
movement when breathing. Any open-mouth breathing with slight exertion or fear.
Shoulder feathers may be matted with discharge from bird wiping its eyes)
Mouth? (beak edges and inside of mouth pink and free of discharge, lesions, trachea
clear and fully visible//or any paleness, dry membranes, swellings around beak edges or
in mouth, any clumps of yellowish or whitish growths inside mouth, any seeds or objects
lodged, any sour or other odor from mouth, weak jaw muscles)
Ears? (clean, no growths or lesions or blood)
Face and legs? (bare areas of body free of nodules//or nodules anywhere on face, legs,
shoulders under feathers, lower abdomen under feathers)
Crop area? (normal filling and emptying, no odor from mouth// or hard crop, crop that
doesn't empty, feels lumpy, enlarged)
Body mass? (plump, with fully fleshed breast area// or thin, with protruding keel,
bruising) You can check skin surface for bruising by wetting the feathers with a gauze
pad and wiping to reveal skin.
Feathers? (intact and free of parasites and parasite damage// or dull, breaking easily,
fluffed, evidence of parasites, cloacal feathers matted with discharge or feces, stress
marks on tail feathers, frayed feathers )
Wings? (held erect, symmetrical, smooth structure, folded over tail// or drooping, with
swellings or nodules at shoulders, enlarged joints)
Abdomen? (firm, flat//or swollen, masses, fluid-filled, egg-bound. Abdomen is felt very
gently. Vent should be free of feces, with dry feathers. There should be no protruding
mucosa from the GI tract.)
Legs and feet? (free of any nodules, pads of feet free of cuts, swellings, reddened
patches, or other signs of bumblefoot // or nodules, red or swollen foot pad, smooth areas
of pad surface, weak grip)
Neurological? (easy, coordinated movements and normal posture // or unsteadiness on
feet, inability to hold head erect, twisting, spinning, star-gazing, seizures, tremors,
uncoordination, head tilt, unresponsiveness to surroundings or stimuli)
Droppings? (white and dark portions clearly defined, no odor // or discoloration,
runniness, excess fluid, odor)
Last edited by Skyeking; 5th June 2005 at 12:36 PM.
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