How do I care for my lovebird who has had a stroke?

by Diana
(Oak Harbor, WA)

My lovebird that I have had for 10 years, we do not know exactly how old she is, was falling off her perch and unable to fly back up. I took her to our vet, who is not an avian specialist. He said that she had had a stroke and gave her a 10% chance of survival. He said to take her home with hope that she might get better. She does act okay, other than she cannot fly and her left leg is very weak. Is there anything special I should be doing to care for her?

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Nov 23, 2017
Life after a Lovie stroke.
by: Rose

Last december my little girl started having balance issues, troubles with her co-ordination especially when it came to her wings for flying, her depth perception seemed to be less then its usual since her accuracy to gnaw on hands invading her cage was comically off to the point her head would waggle side to side really quickly in a way I could only surmise was her efforts to gauge the distance to chomp. For the first few months she did have trouble navigating her cage, but as time passed her navigation and climbing improved to a level close to what she had before this event.

My avian vet is still not sure what has done this to her, but she does have liver and heart issues so she is on three medications for the rest of her life or until her quality of life is in question. Once I noticed she was off her usual behavior I took her in and she was put on medications for her heart and liver issues. She was more bitey and there have been some subtle changes since the event we both agree was most likely a stroke, she's more demanding for attention and must have nightly or cuddles whenever she is outside her cage. She has lost her training to stay away from feet and instead has started to attack them. It has broken my heart a few times when she took a couple bites of my face which in 10 years of sharing my life and home with her, she has NEVER done. But two days ago she bit my nose then tonight bit my chin while having a temper tantrum because she couldn't reach my wrist to bite it.

Like a stroke in people, you may notice some changes in behavior to go with the physical changes as well. There can be other health issues that can manifest as stroke like and without treatment or diagnosis can take away from your Fid's quality of life silently. If its not possible to goto a vet, phone the nearest avian vet and talk with them and explain the issue, a vet clinic worth their weight in gold will help you get your little one the care it needs and some will work with other DVM's not as well versed in Avian medicine due to long distances. Living in canada where theres two registered strictly avian vets on the east and west coast's, I can understand issues would arise from that.

What can be done while you wait for the vet make a kind of diary where you monitor their weight, what they are eating/drinking and how much, what their droppings look like (consistency and how much of what makes up the droppings) and how often, general body condition, any notes that stick out from what is abnormal for their norm and if possible why it is abnormal. If possible use a heating pad or heated blanket to keep them/their cage warm, it is a great first step for senior bird care let alone sick bird care.

I do hope things work out for you and anyone else living with a stroke case, human or feathered and with proper care, a stroke is not a death sentence and your fid can live a happy and unsteady life for however long they have left.

Rose T

Owned by 8 birds
Lovebird 1: Kiwi, age unknown (adopted dec 2008)
Species/ mutation: Peachfaced lovebird, dutch blue.
Health: Plucker, possible stroke (bobblehead, lack of coordination to fly, decreased depth perception, weak foot grip), heart and liver issues.

Lovebird 2: Stitch, AGE 6 years (Hatchday Nov 5th)
Species/ mutation: Peachfaced lovebird, seagreen.
Health: Poly-cystic feather follicles, inbred offspring of cinnamon olivine parents.

6 Zebra finches between the ages of 6 to 10+ years old (One is confirmed 10 years as of Feb 8th 2018)

Jan 10, 2016
possible stroke sysptoms
by: Louie

I have a 24 year old lovebird named Kiwi. Kiwi is active except today he has his head tilted to the right and running in circle to the right.He eats a varied diet of fresh veggies fruits grains and zupreem pellets, eggs and seeds.Also he has been vetted lots of blood work everything good. No environmental changes, fresh food, water and clean cage every day.He is eating but wants to be held.

Apr 07, 2015
my love bird
by: Anonymous

Im pretty sure my 20 year old love bird had a stoke 8 months ago. I havent taking her to the vet in fear of that trauma. She can not fly and her head is bent over her shoulder. Her sight is questionable. She seems to manage getting to the floor and back up to her house. Thankfully there was a house also on the floor before this happened. She has a mate who seems to help her. Some nights she cant make it up and those night she sleeps in the floor house. I put food and water in the regular mid cage level bowls and also on the floor. I make sure she drinks water.can they make a leg brace for your bird. lots of love will keep your bird alive. Also its possible your bird has lead poisoning. my bird nearly died from it 15years ago. i had stain glass near the cage.big no no! I wish you the best!!

Apr 13, 2013
Thanks for the comments
by: Diana

Thank you both for your comments. Unfortunately, an avian vet is out of the question, as I live on an island the nearest is over 100 miles away. My lovey is still with me, but her left side remains very weak. She stays on the bottom of her cage. I have arranged food, water, a toy and her hut near the bottom, so she doesn't struggle. What else might help?

Apr 12, 2013
How do I care for my lovebird who has had a stroke?
by: Linda

Get her to an Avian Vet ONLY quickly. You cannot rely on the opinion from a dog and cat vet. They are not licensed or trained in bird care and know absolutely NOTHING about what they are talking about. Your bird may need some type of medication, and at the very least, an avian vet can render a more comprehensive treatment plan for her. As Tracie said, it may be she is getting old, and I would not give up on the old girl just yet. Get another opinion from someone licensed and trained to give opinions concerning birds.

Thanks for writing and thanks for caring about your little friend so much!

Apr 11, 2013
Caring for lovebird that had a stroke
by: Tracie

Besides taking the bird to an avian vet for another opinion and possible treatment, I don't know there is anything to be done if the bird actually had a stroke.

The bird has lived a long happy life with you, I suspect. It is very difficult when we lose our sweet feathered companions. Hopefully someone that has had this experience will write in if they have suggestions on caring for your bird.

I don't know if you have heard about pellets, but just in case you don't know about them I would like to suggest that you feed your next bird 80% high quality pellets and only 20% seeds and healthy treats. This diet insures your bird is getting a balanced amount of vitamins and minerals and will prevent fatty liver disease and other health issues.

If you have another bird already eating a seed diet, this like to our avian vet's Switching Birds To Pellets article will help you convert the bird(s) to a healthier diet.

Not all pellets are healthy, some are full of sugar and chemicals, so avoid those.

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