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Rescued Pigeon acting strange

2093 Views 18 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Bella_F
I have rescued a pigeon with head trauma and eye infection (and only one leg). Vet prescribed two daily doses of Baytril (with syringe force feed in mouth) and twice daily eye ointment Chloramphenicol.

Have had bird for a week, and was improving, flew out of box twice yesterday, but this morning was stumbling, and twisting his head around rythmically, and is much more resteless and unbalanced now. I'm worried that the bird may not be eating the dove food and water in her box(?)

The pigeon seems to have its head facing to one side.

It appears pigeon has taken a stepback, very unsteady on one leg, and head movementgs seem strange....

I have now given through sryinge (forcefully through beak) a few cc's of water and a few cc's of hand feeding baby bird formula (forcefully through beak) with just a few drops of Vitakraft Pro-Feda Complete vitamin supplement.

Is there anything else I should be aware of? I'm worried that the bird ia tken a turn for the worse.

Thank you.
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It's getting worse now, the pigeon is arching up, then craning her neck all the way down to the botoom and twisting hefr head all the way around, with her eyes closed. She's repeating this over and over, and quits when I move her into the corner of the box.
I came across something similar last Spring, and it winded up being an egg bound hen (egg not coming out ). If its egg binding, she needs urgent attention or she will die.
How do I know if it is a male or female? I refer to her as a female, but I really don't know, and I forgot to ask the vet...
This is a video of a pigeon with PMV:

Thnaks for all of the great info, Bella and Cyro-

That's exactly how she's behaving. I've been reading contradictory info on eventual recovery - a few sources have said 90% mortality rate when neurological symptoms show, others say most will have a full recovery with the possibility of the neurological symptoms (without PMV) recurring....

Are you still giving meds? If you are stop immediately until you get a handle on this.

Turn your bird upside down and see if you see anything protruding from the vent, or any sort of a bump on the abdomen higher up. If there are no males around it is unlikely that the bird is egg bound. Possible but unlikely.

Your bird has had head trauma and it is very likely the symptoms you are looking at are related to that. Keep her in a warm dark quiet box until you can reach your vet. Stop with the force feeding and let her/him rest.
ok - I checked and didn't feel anything. I will stop meds and force feed/water, and consult the vet tomorrow morning.

Poop the last two days has been green & white.

Thanks, Grimaldy!
Those can be difficult cases. Birds can get epilepsy so you have the problem of determining whether the head trauma caused the behavior or whether the behavior caused the head trauma in the first place. If it's the latter, then PMV is the more likely cause but how to tell? I had one once that had epilepsy and, therefore, seizures. They were specific in the progression. He'd seem to glance over his shoulder, take another longer look and then his head and neck would pull around hard and he'd start walking in circles (in place). That's only one form that a seizure can take. The PMV birds that I've had generally demonstrated somewhat more chaotic seizure-like episodes. That might help you to describe exactly what he's doing in more detail or context.

Please be careful when you consult the vet, many will euthanase pigeons with PMV.

The mortality rate with some virulent strains can be as high as 90%, but it is usually 5%. The only relation between the death rate and the neurological symptoms is that pigeons in the wild with neurological symptoms won't be able to feed themselves or escape from predators, with supportive care the vast majority will survive.

All my PMV rescues (30+) have had neurological symptoms, I have only had one that died while being quarantined and that was of a respiratory infection. Of my first 5, rescued in 2000, 3 are still alive. They will all be at least 9 years old now as they were adults when I found them.

Frankly, it sounds like a throat obstruction to me. Have you checked inside her mouth for canker? This is a cheesy-like growth that pigeons frequently get inside their mouths and it can also be internal. She may also have swallowed something that is stuck in the throat. A vet can do a radiograph and determine. You can also gently move your hand down her throat from her beak to her crop and see if you feel anything.

Have you noticed any food coming back up into her throat/mouth when you feed her?

If you continue to feed her with a syringe, don't give her any more water because she will get enough from the formula. Give her small amounts at the time, say, 5 - 10 cc, let her rest a few minutes and give her a bit more. If food is backing up into her mouth, leave off everything until you can get her to a vet.
Pidgey - I'll get a better handle on her seizures - she appears to be resting right now.

Maggie - I will check for canker and other possible obstructions.

Cynthia - thanks for the info - sounds like I may just may have a new pet pigeon! That's great info, and appreciate the advice on the water vs. formula - makes sense, and I am giving her baby bird formula, I'll stop with the water.

She appears to be taking the formula well - other than shaking her head and spraying us with a few drops she is swallowing most of it.

Thanks to all of you for the great advice,

Greg, I think you are a great diplomat! I had to laugh when I read your last post. You got a variety of responses yet handled each of us with class! :)

I think you are doing a great job and I sincerely hope your little guy quickly improves.
I regret, very much, to have to say the pigeon died this afternoon. She was continuing to exhibit torticollis with green diarrhea Sunday night, however, the torticollis stopped Monday, and then she became more lethargic. Before I could get her to a vet she died sometime early this afternoon.

This is very upsetting but thanks everyone for your help.
Im sorry to hear about your bird. I know how it feels.
I am so sorry he didn't make it.

I'm sorry for the loss of the bird, Greg, but thank you so very much for helping.

Dear Greg,

I am so sorry to hear that you lost her; it really hurts after nursing a little one and trying your best to help her get well , doesn't it? I'm still sad after losing my little rescued guy on Monday.

Your pigeon may have had many things wrong with it, you never can tell when its a rescued pigeon, and you don't know the history. Also since there was with evidence of head trauma, it would be hard to know if the torticollis was caused by that, a bacterial disease like Paratypoid, or a virus (or a combination of things)

The main thing is you did what you could, and it died warm, comfortable, and loved.
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