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Hekie Hekie is offline
Posted 30th January 2019, 04:08 PM
Join Date: Apr 2018
Country: Spain
Location: Barcelona
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What would be your go-to diagnosis?


Just a couple of weeks after my last injured pigeon, my cat and I have a new houseguest 😞 I spent some time earlier today trying to catch a pigeon about to lose its foot without luck, poor thing. Apparently the universe decided it was a day for a pigeon after all. My neighbour found it tonight and contacted me.

This is the first time there's been no visible injury out of five pigeons. We have a vet appointment for tomorrow morning (assuming he survives the night) but I'm wondering if any of you have ideas. Wings and feet look fine, no blood. His beak was hard to open, like really difficult. Something didn't look right in his mouth (no growths or smell that I noticed). Like his tongue was attached to the roof of his mouth or something.

It's cold out (about 6 degrees Celsius) and based on when I caught him, he was likely sitting in the cold for five hours or so. He's puffed right up and his eyes aren't always open. When I picked him up, I briefly thought he was dead till he roused. Could be anything I know, but any of you pigeon experts have a guess? The last pigeon I had, she had PMV (per the vet, or something similar) and there are no signs of any kind of symptoms with this one. I'm wondering if the beak and general stiffness might be because of the cold, or a symptom of whatever's wrong.

Anyway, please send very good thoughts. I'd love for this little guy to make it. The death of the last one was devastating. His name is Gabriel (Spanish pronunciation, for what it's worth).
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Jay3 Jay3 is offline
Posted 30th January 2019, 09:53 PM
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Get him warmed up before you do anything, and offer him a cup of water with a pinch of sugar and pinch of salt mixed in. You may need to gently dip his beak into the water to get him to drink, but not over the nostrils. Get him rehydrated, and tomorrow morning you can offer him some bird seed, and see if he will eat. Never offer seed or water to a cold bird until you first warm him, and rehydrate before you offer food. Then you can watch for symptoms of illness, and try to figure out what is wrong. A regular vet may not be able to help much as they don't usually know pigeons very well. Or birds in general really. Please let us know how it is going.
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Hekie Hekie is offline
Posted 31st January 2019, 04:41 AM
Join Date: Apr 2018
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Thanks Jay3. Unfortunately he didn't make it through the night. I picked him up close to 11pm last night and found him dead at 8:30am.

I'd done all the things you suggested anyway and had given some pain relief (Metacam - my sister is a vet and has birds herself, and I have some on hand for my cat), however at some point during the night my heater shut off, so it wouldn't have been warm enough in the room for him. I doubt that was everything as he was pretty far gone when I found him, but I'm angry that the heater decided to quit right at the wrong moment. I'll look at getting a heat lamp to avoid a recurrence.

I have a really good exotic vet who handles pigeons regularly. I've taken four to him personally before now.

It's been a crappy January for pigeons; I've lost two this month. Poor things. RIP, Gabriel.
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Hekie Hekie is offline
Posted 31st January 2019, 04:48 AM
Join Date: Apr 2018
Country: Spain
Location: Barcelona
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Just to add: he peed during the night, but no poo. Hence suspecting hunger and cold. I feed all the pigeons in my neighbourhood but even with that supplementing their diets, it's rough going.

He didn't look starving, but I have no idea if it's visible. Do you know? Do the pigeons get scraggly and obviously starving, or is it not so visible and you rely on their poo (or not) to tell you?

Last edited by Hekie; 31st January 2019 at 08:48 AM..
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Jay3 Jay3 is offline
Posted 31st January 2019, 02:28 PM
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I'm sorry you lost him. Maybe just too late by the time you got him. Awful to be sick out in the cold. If he is starving then his keel bone should be sharp without a lot of meat around it. Pretty easy to feel.
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cwebster cwebster is offline
Posted 31st January 2019, 08:33 PM
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Am sorry to hear Gabriel didnt make it. Thank you for trying.
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Hekie Hekie is offline
Posted 1st February 2019, 09:43 AM
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Thank you, both of you. And good to know about the keel bone, Jay3. Each pigeon teaches me something new, I just wish my success rate were higher. Where I collected Gabriel is on the ground not far from where many of the neighbourhood pigeons roost for the night, so I suspect he wasn't able to get up there either due to sickness or starvation. Then 5-6 hours in the cold - poor thing.

This morning I saw a seagull eating a pigeon for the first time - heard about it, but never seen it. And then found a dead baby which had fallen from its nest. It's not even a cold winter here, what an awful time they have of it. They're breaking my heart. I'm glad there are other people who also care and who understand what darling wee beings they are.
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Hekie Hekie is offline
Posted 1st February 2019, 09:49 AM
Join Date: Apr 2018
Country: Spain
Location: Barcelona
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Also, I've ordered a couple of heating pads (and contacted my landlord about the heating). The reviews seem mixed so I'll see how they go. I was thinking of getting a heat lamp but the power of those freaks me out a bit so the pad may be safer.

I keep any pigeons in a large cat cage at first, so if I got the power wrong I'm worried I would overdo it and they wouldn't be able to get away from the heat.
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