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I have a deep spinner or roller that spun and hit the ground. He walks in right circles and if flies gets about a foot off the ground and goes in right circles. His neck wont stay straight or go left. Its 35 degrees right or almost backwards all the time. When spooked he pretty much just flips on the ground. I hand fed him for two days but now he is eating on his own. However, his neck is still twisted and he doesnt seem like he could make it two hours out of a cage or supervision. Wondering if this is a broken neck, and what to do. He is eight years old; if relevent
 

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If it were a broken neck, your bird would not be here. It is most likely a cervical dislocation that oddly enough has not killed him.

The one part of a birds skeleton that is extremely flexible is the long neck, which covers the spinal cord. Unfortunately there would be almost no way to repair it without killing the bird. First you would need to locate the vertebra that is out of place, and with luck it may be near the body or just behind the head. You can do this by carefully running your thumb and finger down the neck and see if you can feel something sticking up or definitely out of place. If it is near the body or head it may be possible to devise a splint that will immobilize the neck.

Make that little test and come back to us and we we see what can be done if anything. Oh Yes! Be very gentle and treat the bird as you would a human with a suspect fractured neck. Do not let him fly around, try to keep him confined in a safe warm box, with little light, and remain as quiet as possible.
 

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sounds like head trauma to me, had a baby squirrel last spring that did the same thing she just went in circles to the right, most of the birds i get that have hit windows or have some kind of head trauma usually look like they are watching a tennis match on fast forward and they can come out of it, i would at least give him a few weeks before you do anything rash.
sometimes steroids can help but sometimes they can hurt, they are very controversial, alot of rehabbers including me used to always use them for head trauma until it was found that it can cause them to bleed out and die. i've used them as a last resort for a few unfortunates that have come to me.
you sure you can't do a vet visit for him, poor guy, i'd take him if i was closer
 

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Hi birdlover,

The fact the bird is still alive suggests that it will live and should not be put down despite the nature of the injury.

When you try to feel along the neck a bird usually draws its neck in close to its body which can make it difficult to locate the situs of the injury. The fact that it is unable to hold its head up points towards a possible dislocation or compression fracture. It should heal with appropriate splinting and braces. I have a few ideas but we will need the member pidgey to consult on this one.

Neck fractures of any kind are painful, for humans and animals. Do you have any pain relievers in your medicine cabinet? Steroids are not a good idea as they tend to mask neurological injuries and introduce other problems.
 

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OK Birdlover,

Basically the idea is to immobilize the neck to give it a chance to heal. The neck vertabrae of the pigeon consist of small interlocking little pieces unlike the human spine which is something similar to a set of blocks, one on top of another with spacers of cartilage, held in line by a powerful set of muscles running parallel.

One possible solution requires about four or five pipe cleaners. You will need to go to a smoke shop to find them. They are basically wires about 6 inches long with padding. Cut a small piece of plastic about 7/8 inch by 3 inch, from a coffee can top or of something similar in stiffness. Bundle the pipe cleaners with scotch tape and then tape them to the plastic piece so about 3 inches of pipe cleaner sticks out with the other end flush against the end of the plastic piece.
Take some non-stick tape, the kind that sticks only to itself (any drugstore) and tape the plastic piece to the birds back slightly below the wings, around the body so it is firmly in place but not so firm that the bird can not breathe. The pipe cleaners should extend along the neck towards the head. Try to bend the pipe cleaners to the neck so they have a somewhat natural shape. Then take some lengths of cotton towel cut about four inches long, 1/4 inch wide, and very gently try to tie the neck to the pipe cleaners, being very careful not to tie them too tight or you will strangle him. Again, not to be repetitive, the idea is to immobilize the neck for about 4-6 weeks.

If this will not work, let us know and we will suggest something else.

The bird will need pain meds, check your medicine cabinet and get us know so we can talk about dosages. The bird will also need to be hand fed.

In behalf of the pigeon, we all extend our thanks for your willingness to help him in his time of need.
 

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If there were considerable swelling, misalignment or whatever in the main spinal cord channel, there wouldn't be any walking or other lower body motor control. I'd worry more about intracranial swelling and it's been too long since the original injury for a lot of the normal responses. I'd tend to keep the bird in a somewhat darkened and small space for a substantial amount of time while providing simple support.

Pidgey
 

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Usually, not always.

Normally with something like this, you'd put the bird in a fairly cool and dark place. Some studies have shown that DMSO (Dimethyl Sulfoxide) can help with intracranial swelling. So can cortisol, if memory serves. The DMSO you can apply yourself if you're careful. Most folks don't know what it is, how to use it or where to get it. But at this stage, I probably wouldn't bother.

Pidgey
 

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Supposedly DMSO is used in horse liniments. So a good horse feed and supply store might be able to provide some.

Harrison Lightfoot offers no recommendation on dosage when applied topically, but it is useful as a topical anesthetic and well as quick absorption through the skin and the blood brain barrier.
 
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