I need advice please. I really don't know what to do.

by dennis
(washington dc)

about a month ago I got a five month old sun conure, Sunny. She was the most perfect pet, a family member in a short time. We loved her so much. She was obtained through a breeder and brought to a vet within 72 hours. A CBC and sex test was done on her as well as a check up. Clean bill of health, I called our vet about her scratching her nares and sneezing and there was no discharge with the sneezing. She was eating and playful but fluffed up now and then but we thought it was her saying she was happy. The vet said to dust and to call if it got worse, it did and I ended up bringing a larthargic, frantic, and very sick bird for emergency care 4 days later. They put her on oxygen and I could not afford the testing and inpatient treatment for her that they wanted me to agree to. I asked for medicine and I wanted to treat her at home. I got antibiotics and antifungal liquids, as well as two powders to add to her food. She died the next afternoon while I was holding her on the phone with the vet saying I was going to bring her in again.

I want you to know that she was frantic and acted like she couldn't see. She was flapping and moving her head around very fast and would not become calm even under her blanket. She died suddenly and before I could bring her to the vet. I do not know why. After about 10 days we got another bird that the breeder offered us for free because she was a year old and needed love to become tame. We brought her home 6 days ago. She is eating, drinking, playing, becoming very loving, adjusting well, in a warm environment, and watched carefully. I assure you we have done all we or anyone could to sanitize the environment for this new conure. I scrubbed and washed and bleached what I could bleach.

However she is sneezing and has been from the first 24 hours she was in the house. She is scratching at her nares and she is bobbing her head up and down very very fast at times. I have read all I can about birds and I have focused on Sun Conures and their behavior. I am listening to her eat, I am in the same room with her next to her cage and she seems healthy but so did Sunny. I am so worried... I called the vet and they will see her but the costs will be the same... I don't even know if there is something wrong with her? She came with her Poly and Clamyidia tests both negitive and she was sexed. I wanted to avoid the vets office because I was worried Sunny got her illness at the vet. I am worried. There are also three cats, allowed outside but not ever allowed near the bird. I want to say more but don't know what to tell you. Please help

Comments for I need advice please. I really don't know what to do.

Click here to add your own comments

Feb 09, 2010
Sun Conure problems
by: The Avian Vet

I cannot comment on what happened to the first bird because I was not there. But diagnostics such as blood work and hospitalization on oxygen may have made the difference in whether or not Sunny died. In my opinion, the diagnostics and treatments should have been done in the beginning instead of recommending that you dust your home.

Even the most minor symptoms should never be ignored. Being fluffed is a serious symptoms, especially when shown in conjunction with other symptoms. Be careful judging eating, too, because sick birds will pretend to eat to make you think they are OK when they really are not. I am also concerned about the blanket. This bird had respiratory problems but was covered by a blanket, which may have further compromised her breathing? Her frantic behavior may have been a seizure, common when a bird is dying. I am telling you all of this so you are prepared for this second bird you have.

So now you have a second bird with the same symptoms. It seems logical that either the birds are coming from the breeder with something which is being exhibited secondary to the stress of coming into a new home, or there is something in your home that is the source of the problem. For the symptoms that you describe things to think about are ? tobacco smoke, dry air, cage liners, aerosols, household cleaners. I do not know what diet your birds are eating, but it could be nutrition related, too.

The vet was not the source of this problem, so avoiding the vet is a bad idea, particularly when you think this bird ma have the same problem as the previous one.

Since she tested negative for Polyomavirus, you need to have her vaccinated against it. She should also have some baseline blood work and a culture for the sneezing.

At home, you should make provide some humidity, make sure she is eating a good pellet diet ( Harrison's is the best), and do not expose her to respiratory toxins.

Feb 04, 2010
I need advice please. I really don't know what to do.
by: Linda

Yes, I agree with Tracie. Look at the toxic/non-toxic list because there are many items used in homes that will kill birds slowly or quickly.

Bleach, Ammonia and PineSol products are absolute don't use items around birds. Cats can also be poisoned by just walking across a floor cleaned with a petroleum based cleaner like PineSol.

Tracie carries a safe cleaner out here called Mango Pet Focus cleaner, and you can get it in already mixed or concentrate form. You can clean your whole house using it, though you should never spray it around your birds. If using it in their room or on cage, put it on a cloth and use it like that. Follow the directions, and you'll have a clean, safe house.

As Tracie mentioned, air fresheners, scented candles, Febreeze and a number of other items are poison for birds. Basically, bird owners have to go with a more natural world. Even the under pressure cans will hurt the birds, so these have to be used outside. Like the spray Pam, we take dishes outside to use that. Furniture polish, glue, paint, and many other things are toxic for birds.

So take a look at the list Tracie has compiled because it sounds as if this bird is also suffering from the same problem the other one had. Toxins work as you described and kill quickly. Most of them work on the central nervous system which is where the nodding, twitches and spasms are coming from. Food, toys and water can also be areas to look at. Make sure your water has been recently tested and that your bird food is for birds only and is organically grown. Dried fruit has to be organic as the stuff in groceries has sulphur used as a preservative and will kill birds. Just look into any and everything in your home, and also look at bird's cage, perches, toys. Use no bedding in bottom of cage except unprinted newspaper. It can be found on partially used rolls at any newspaper office. They sell them really cheap, and there is no ink for bird to get into, and it is really absorbant. Also, always have a great between the bottom tray or pan and the birds as birds can be poisoned by eating old food or feces they find in a cage with no grate.

Thanks for writing,

Feb 04, 2010
My Sun Conure died suddenly from
by: Tom Kirkpatrick

My Sun Conure died suddenly from what I believe was one to three toxics on the list. They were Mr. Clean and Pinesol used on floor. Or we had carpet cleaned and I understand cleaning chemicals are dangerous. Also Plug in deoderizers could have been the culprit. A bird's respiratory system is very sensitive.I am concerned that the ammonia you used to disinfect was the culprit. I am still grieving about the loss of my Sun Conure "Speckles".I hope this helps as I learned a lot from my experience and hope to get another bird. Good Luck.

Feb 04, 2010
Bird died and next bird maybe sick
by: Tracie

Dr B will answer this within a couple of days, but I wanted to chime in.

It seems to me that you have something in the environment since both birds stated sneezing and scratching right away. It is possible they came with an illness too though.

Please look closely at our NonToxic Toxic List to see if there is anything there you need to remove.

The most common problems are air fresheners, house cleaners, perfumes, hair spray, bug killers and Teflon products. Many irons now have Teflon coatings and ironing board covers. Toaster ovens often have Teflon coatings too.

If there are any non-bird safe toys or perches in the cage, then the bird could be having a reaction to those. Oh, and you should make sure you are NOT using any "bedding" material on the bottom of the cage. If you need an easy cleaning material for the bottom of the cage, consider paper or human bed pads.

I fully realize that you may have a VERY safe environment there, I am just throwing out ideas and NOT accusing you of anything. I feel for you, it must be very scary.

Click here to add your own comments