lovebird leg paralysis

Hello, I have a peachface lovebird and lately (I noticed this 2 days ago) his legs got paralysed. It happened practically overnight, I didn't see any signs of this before. I called our vet and since he was on a vacation, I managed to get his replacement today.

The vet took many X-ray pictures (I suspected a broken leg but that was too weird because both his legs can't get broken overnight just like that, and one of his legs seemed worse than the other). and finally after spending about an hour examining my bird, he said that he didn't see anything. his bones show a good ossification (I believe that's how you say it) and everything seems fine if not for the apparent lack of response when one touches his feet. he even tries to do eveything the same way with no seeming pain.

the vet concluded that it's either a metabolism problem and we need to give him vitamins and a cuttle bone for 2 weeks OR a nervous problem. stress?? is that it? he said that in that case we can do nothing. have you ever heard of this? can you think of some other reason? what is it was a tumor, the vet would have seen on the whole body x-rays right?

what if it ends up being something nervous, can we really do nothing? does it go away eventually? it pains me to see him struggle to climb everything as usual and not even be able to reach his water fountain. (which i finally transferred right next to him on the cage floor).
please help me.
thank you

Comments for lovebird leg paralysis

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Jun 22, 2016
This sounds similar to my peach faced love bird
by: Joe Ross

My bird started stretching one wing, flapping it as if he was stiff. He's 8 years old, and I was thinking his sleeping box was too hard, and he wasn't sleeping comfortably, but he wouldn't accept a wash cloth for a bed. He just moved to a different part of the box. Then, as described in the original post, overnight, he developed a pronounced limp in his left leg and could no longer climb. I put a warming tray under the floor of his box, and he seemed to be livelier in the mornings, and I haven't seen him stretching his left wing, but he still can't climb. Maybe the poor little guys get arthritis. Anybody think so? Anybody have any other possible treatments for arthritis?

Jun 30, 2012
My parrotlet has same thing - developped 22.6.12
by: Anonymous

Hi. I have a 9 month old parrotlet who has ingested something metal. 1 week at the vets with all treatment possible and not returning. Her stools are now brown with whitish edge (was green) and she has feed herself consistently throughout the last week. She is lively at times then tired out pulling herself around the cage. She is on a memory foam mattress in her cage. Is yours eating well? I am trying physiotherapy myself youtube Dr ROss Perry. Katie has paralysis in both legs. Any tips on vit food I was told baby food vegetables is good because of vits.

May 07, 2010
Bird with leg paralysis
by: The Avian Vet

Are you SURE this is a male? Has he been DNA sexed? Females experience this problem more often, related to egg laying and other reproductive problems.

I do not think it is stress. It could be a nutritional deficiency, most likely calcium or vitamin D3. Cuttlebone is not going to do much, but a pellet diet, like Harrison's , would. You also need a full spectrum light to get the UV so he can make his own vitamin D3. A tumor could be present and not show on the x-rays.

It is not likely a nervous condition it is likely a tumor, calcium deficiency, or trauma. It could be helpful to give him a pain medication like Metacam. You may want to find a specialist and get a second opinion.

Dr B

May 06, 2010
lovebird leg paralysis
by: Linda

Reem, thanks for writing, and this sounds like a possible tumor or seizure activity. NO, TUMORS WILL NOT SHOW UP ON ANY BONE XRAYS. Vet will need to do something like a Cat Scan in order to find any soft masses that may be putting pressure on his lower areas. The fact that his feet and legs appear to be numb is very frightening and IS NOT RELATED TO STRESS. Stress presents as overactive heart and heavy breathing and sometimes birds will go off feed scream a lot or start to pick their feathers out. THIS IS A PHYSICAL PROBLEM, and cause needs to be found.

I know Avian vets are expensive, and still, here is what I strongly suggest:

If your Avian vet has the equipment, or can send you to one who does, bird needs some kind of full-body scan for soft tissue masses, and a good place to start would be head on down the spinal column. A whole body scan would be better, and I have NO IDEA how much that would cost, so you'll have to ask about it. The scan is the only way to find a tumor, and if it is really small, it will still be hard to find. One that is putting pressure on nerves in bottom portion should be large enough to see on scan, but no promises. Now, whether it can be safely removed or not would have to be dealt with next.

Have Avian vet do some basic bloodwork to make sure his thyroid, parathyroid, kidneys and liver are working within normal levels plus a CBC or Complete Blood Count, before doing anything else. Then if all that comes back normal, the soft tissue scan would be your next step.

I'm SO sorry this is happening to you and your little bird, and you were right to take him to Avian vet, and also to write to us here. God's speed, and our prayers are with you.Let us know what happens as we are here to support you any way we can.


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