Can my bird be allergic to water?

by Rachel

When I try giving my bird a bath I use a luke-warm to cool water. When I put him in the water he goes into like a freezing mode and starts freaking out. His legs become limp and he cannot walk. I have to grab him to get him out because he cannot use his feet. It takes him 5-10 mins and sometimes more to recover and I'm afraid something is wrong.

Comments for Can my bird be allergic to water?

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Jul 15, 2009
Can a bird be allergic to water?
by: The Vet

Something is wrong, but he is not allergic to water. This is his reaction to stress, and can be an indication of heart disease, respiratory disease, and even a brain or neurologic issue. You should have your bird thoroughly worked up by an avian veterinarian. You should have a complete panel done including a pancreatic panel, triglycerides, and cholesterol in addition to the normal chemistry panel and CBC.

Dr B

Jul 13, 2009
Cold Water
by: Linda

It is easier to let them take a shower. We use a regular plastic plant sprayer bottle and give them a nice, warm shower before their cage is cleaned. It does double duty in that as it's cleaning the birds, it is also getting cage wetted down so it can be cleaned as well. Keeps the dust down while cleaning out the poop trays too.

Get the water warm, not hot, spray the water above them at first so bird can get used to the way it feels. Once my birds start opening up their wings, I can do some "detail" work on them. They always end up looking like drowned birds while loving every minute of it. Until your bird is used to it, just hold sprayer back some and spray over head so it resembles a gentle rainfall. Most birds are afraid to go into water except for the really small ones who like a shallow bird bath. The "shower" will do a lot more good, and your little friend won't be so afraid. Your water may also be too cold, get it warm, not even close to hot, but a little warmer than room temperature which is too cold usually for them. If they lived outside where it is hot in the summer, their water gets warmed by the sun.

Hope this helps. If you have not taken your bird to Avian vet in more than a year, it is time to take him in for a checkup to rule out infection and other problems. Not being able to walk in the water could just be from too cold of water, and the fear that he is going to die. I tried this a long, long time ago with Cockatiels, and had to learn to use the plant sprayer as they thought they were going to die in the bathtub! I'd go ahead and take bird to vet just to be sure.

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