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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Here is the story: last autumn I rescued a juvenile pigeon with respiratory issues, fallen from the nest. He has been treated for respiratory issues, but we delayed releasing him because winter had come. Two months ago, he suddenly started exhibiting balance issues, which over the course of 1-2 days became so bad, he could not walk, or he would fall over and tumble. We took him to the vet, he had an x-ray (we feared he might have flown into a window while we were not with him) and a check, and the vet could not come up with any solid explanation. He remained active and alert the whole time, eating and pooping normally, but his legs could simply not hold. Vet assumes it's an incapacity of absorbing vitamin B that caused neurological issues. In all honesty, it doesn't exactly feel like a balance issue, more like a weakness of the legs.

The good news is that he improved and adapted, and now is able to walk and eat normally. The walking is odd, kinda like a duck, with body more horizontal than normal pigeons and tail up. His flying is also heavy - he flies, but obviously goes through efforts to do it, and he lands with a thud you can hear from the other room. He is heavier than the other pigeons, despite same breed - 380 grams compared to 340 as the others weigh.

Obviously that means he will not be released ever, but he has a home with us anyway.

Still, one issue arose: I noticed recently he is in stress when bathing, and upon picking him up, felt the feathers under him kinda sticky and with a sickly smell. I checked him, and his chest has a massive bruise, scabbed over repeatedly, with feathers and probably blood matted in it. I assume that the heavy landings are what is causing the damage, and he can't clean the area either, since he loses balance if he tries to lean forward much.

What can we do to clean and heal the place, and what can we do to prevent it from happening again? He really likes flying. All my pigeons are free in the house, I don't have cages. Even when he was sick, he started flying again before managing to walk.

Edit: ok, decided to clean the place with cammomile tea, and realized the bruise or whatever it is is actually almost down at the cloaca, making it harder to believe it's from the landings. It looks like a dark crust with new feathers stuck in it that feel like needles. Washing it didn't seem to do anything and I was afraid to pry the feathers off. I've put some antibiotic cream I had around the house on it - it's pretty old and probably out of date, but the vaseline should help soften the place so we can at least clean better. Getting new medicine might be complicated, my country is on lockdown from the corona virus, going out is limited and most shops bar food ones and pharmacies are closed. I don't know the status of veterinarian pharmacies.
 

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Does he have access to direct sunlight (not through a window)? He might have a calcium deficiency and this will get worse. Indoor birds need direct sunlight (Vit D3) to help the body absorb calcium. If you can't get hold of liquid calcium (with added Vit D3), you can use human calcium. Unfortunately I don't know the dosage. Otherwise, direct sunlight even if it's only an hour every day, will help.
 
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