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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My 5 year old dove “Bird” has suddenly started having seizure like spells. I find him on the floor with his beak pointed at the ceiling. He is disoriented and unable to fly for several minutes, and keeps his beak pointed up or twists his head back so that his beak points towards his tail. When he recovers it is very sudden, as if he just snaps out of it, and he is able to fly again without any issues. He has had several of these spells over the past week, although none for the past two days. Before that he had been having 1-2 episodes a day, usually one in the morning and then one at night a few hours before bed. The vet has him on anti-inflammatory drugs and now wants to try anti-seizure medication. We will be doing blood tests and possibly radiology scans if I can afford it.

Nothing new has been brought into the house or used that might have given off fumes. My other birds are all fine. The only change that has happened recently, before Bird started showing symptoms, is that several weeks ago he started eating seed mix instead of his usual Harrison's bird pellets. I recall now that sometime after that my roommate said Bird was acting weird and had his head up, but he seemed fine to me whenever I was around. I always keep a dish of seed out for the other doves, and Bird has taken a liking to it. He never liked seeds as a chick and would sometimes throw up after eating them so I have always fed him Harrison's pellets. But I can't imagine how birdseed could be a culprit, unless he is having some kind of allergic reaction. Any input or ideas are welcome. My vet is out until Thursday.
 

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I have a five year old finch that had seizures for a different reason because of no night light and a towel with a weird design on it when I covered up the cage at night..Corrected the problem and no problem now at all...But I changed this finch to pelleted food gradually from her regular finch seed and one day I found her at the bottom of the cage acting like she could not fly anymore (figuring old age here) so I put her regular seed down in the bottom and water and she ate fine and the next few days eating the seed just fine and pretty soon she was normal and flying up on her perch. I threw the pelleted finch food in the trash and she has been fine ever since and this has been months now...So it might very well be the change of the food...I would change her back to what is normal for her and see what happens..That's all I can offer in the way of advice and sure hopes she gets better...
 

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Did have a dove in one time who threw his/her head right back pointing towards the tail. As I recall, it was connected to a Vitamin B deficiency.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Bird has been around two other doves and a sparrow for a year and a half or longer. His droppings look good and he is eating and drinking. The vet did not have a diagnosis prior to prescribing anti-inflammatory drugs, but she thought he may have flown into something and wanted to treat possible swelling in the brain if that was the cause.

I do not give any supplements. His regular pellet food contains D3, calcium, and B12 supplements (Harrison's High Potency Fine). I assume the blood tests will show if he has a vitamin deficiency but I will ask to be sure. I was also wondering if a deficiency of some kind could be the cause. The other birds just eat finch seed and high calcium grit.
 

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Does she get sunlight? They need the sun to help process the calcium. Too much built up can cause seizure and drunk like spouts. Haven't really seen it in doves like you do in birds like starlings though . Just a thought.
Recommendations I have had from vets about sudden seizures are try Ivermectin to rule out aberrant parasitic migration, and start it on Baytril to rule out a bacterial encephalitis.
Hope your litte doove gets better soon
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Bird has not had any more seizures this week that I know of, and he seems to be acting normal. He is back on regular pellet food. Sunlight is very sparse here this time of year, so I will order some avian lights. All the other birds are still acting fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
We went to the vet last week and ran a lot of tests. Here are the results.. :(

"The radiograph report is available; Bird's skeleton is decreased in density, indicating metabolic bone disease. There is also chronic osteoarthritis of both feet. Additionally, the radiologist has a strong suspicion of diffuse atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a build of plaque-like materials lining the walls of the vessels from the heart. It results in decreased blood flow to the body and the brain, and clots can form, break off, and travel to the body and brain. It's possible that the condition we've seen in Bird is directly related to atherosclerosis and metabolic bone disease. While we will not be able to reverse atherosclerosis, we can be sure to give Bird calcium, have Bird exposed to natural daylight for at least 30 minutes/day, and have Bird under a full spectrum bulb for 12 hours per day in the winter."

If anyone here has any advice or helpful info on these things... osteoarthritis, atherosclerosis, or MBD, please post...
 

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Yes, calcium is extremely important for a bird. You can buy a supplement that is very good, which has both the calcium and needed vitamin D3. Kinda hard to put him out in sunlight for a half hour a day when it's really cold outside. Also, at times you just don't have the time. Just because you offer calcium, if in a grit or crushed oyster shell, doesn't mean that he will get enough. The CalciBoost supplement, or Calcivet in the U.K. can be given in his drinking water, or individually down the throat. But would have to get the correct dosage for a dove. Have you not given him any calcium or sunlight for 5 years? The rays of the sun that they need to process D3 don't travel through window glass or screen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
The food i was feeding him has calcium and d3 added, but I guess not enough... I have a window in my room. We don't get a lot of sun in the winter but when the weather is warmer I have the window open so he can sit in direct sunlight. I have installed featherbrite lights in my room as of last week and I have some calciboost to add to his water. The directions state "In water 10-20 mls per litre; You should start the bird on the Calciboost 5 days a week for 4 weeks"


Please be kind... I thought I was taking the best care of him that I could. He is my pampered baby, and this news has been devastating to me.. He is my baby.
 

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Didn't think I was being unkind. I'm just explaining to you that calcium is very important. I'm glad you have the CalciBoost. Hope he will be okay. Let us know.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Sorry, it is an emotional day, I blame myself for his illness. I know I must have done things wrong or he would be healthy :( I am afraid of getting jumped on for it, I don't want people to think that I am a neglectful owner. I thought I had been doing everything right.
 

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Wasn't jumping on you. Simply asked a question. The CalciBoost should help him.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thank you for your advice and suggestions, Jay. It really is appreciated. Sorry if I came off as rough... It is "the morning after" and I am feeling calmer. I am hoping to talk to my vet today about treatment options. I worry that my poor bird may have been in pain all this time and I never knew, although he has never acted as though his feet or bones hurt him.
 

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I can understand how you feel. Hope you get help from your vet. I know you care a lot about your bird. Good luck, and let us know how it goes.
 
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