My grey started biting his feet

my grey had a bleeding wound on his foot when I got up the morning of the 6th july 09 I took him to his avian vet they put him in a collar and gave him antibiotics he got over the edge of the collar and bit his toes so they made the collar bigger this happened 3 times his feet were a mess and the collar ended up huge, he was in this collar for 2 months, in the end we took it off and said no more collars as we thought that was a long time to be in a collar.

he had lots of tests £2000 worth bloods xrays endoscopy all came back ok except they said he maybe borderline pssittacosis they checked my other 2 birds they were clear. and that was it no answers took him to another vet who also tested him for pssittacosis which was clear. he said it maybe a build up of salt due to having tidbits of human foods over the years (he is 12) he does have a good varied diet veg fruit pellet seed, and used to have the odd piece of biscuit, seedy wholemeal bread etc which has now stopped he has had no human food for over 6 months now, his feet got better all was well, then they start to crack and go very dry then he starts biting them again both feet the 3 biggest toes on each foot and a bit on his ankle I use aloe vera gel and f10 spray when it like this.

then they heal again for a while then it starts all over again. he has had no human food now for over 6 months,I am at my wits end he is so uncomfortable I just dont know what to do next.

Comments for My grey started biting his feet

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Feb 06, 2010
Bird biting feet
by: The Avian Vet

Obviously I cannot give you a diagnosis nor can I recommend specific treatments. However, I can offer some suggestions and theories.

I have seen similar cases and have had success with treating them, but each case is different and will require different treatments depending on the diagnosis.

One of my recommendations would be to do a skin biopsy from the foot, which needs to be done when he is showing symptoms.

Although his diet sounds good, I would recommend that you switch him to an organic diet. Harrison's is the best. The other option is to feed a hypoallergenic diet; Roudybush Rice Diet would be the best choice for that. Feeding either of these diets will eliminate some things that may be causing a food allergy. If you try this, then all other foods must be take away and he should be fed only the Rice diet for 90 days ? nothing else. If you try the organic option, then you can feed other foods, but only organic foods. There is some evidence that preservatives and pesticide and other chemical residues can cause this.

This could be a humidity issue. Give your bird a soaking bath with plain water 1-2 times weekly and a misting bath 2-3 times weekly using Avi-x Bird Rain or other commercial bathing spray. It will also be helpful to put a humidifier in his room. You might also consider a heated perch for him comfort.

I strongly recommend using a product called Soother Plus for topical treatment of the foot lesions. I also recommend adding Avi-x Booster to his diet. These two products work miracles in cases like this. There is also a Soother spray that can help, especially when used in combination with the topical cream.

This may be a contact allergy. Assess everything that you bird might perch or stand on. Sometimes it is a perfume or a lotion or even laundry detergent residue in clothing.

Does anyone smoke tobacco in your home? Nicotine residues on hands are notorious for causing this.

There are some medications too that may help. I would certainly use Metacam to reduce the pain and inflammation. I have also used isoxusprine and gabapentin as vasodilators which worked on some patients.

Finally, bandaging may be a necessity, and even a collar may be helpful again, but I do not recommend the cone shaped collars. They are stressful and not as effective as a tube shaped collar, which birds seem to tolerate much better.

I hope this helps; please let me know either way.

Dr B

Feb 05, 2010
My grey started biting his feet
by: Linda

I applaud you for being so thorough and your commitment to your bird is amazing! Psittacosis is an upper respiratory infection which I've had, and it does not show any of the symptoms you have described. Lungs get worse and worse, and a cough is so bad it breaks rib cartlidge. I worked with parrots, and contracted it from a sick baby Macaw. It responds to the Tetracycline family of drugs and ONLY them. My doctors misdiagnosed me to the point of near death as all the other antibiotics had no effect whatsoever. Your bird did not ever have it.

I'm not a vet, but a neurological condition comes to mind here. It would mean more tests and of course more money, but neuro tests may show what is going on. The other thing that comes to mind is gout which is caused from kidney malfunction. I assume during all the blood work, tests for kidney function were run? In which case, that is shot down as well.

The only other thing that is possible is a soft tissue problem like a tumor possibly near his spine that is putting pressure on lower body. If he had one in the upper spine/brain region, he'd be having seizures, and of everything he has suffered, you did not mention that, which is good.

See if they can do a scan of his body--the birdy equivalent of an MRI or Contrast CT scan to see if something shows up.

There HAS to be an answer to this mystery, and if a picture of his insides were to be taken, there may very well be the answer and solution all in one.

So very sorry for all this, and your bird is suffering much as well.

Let us know what the vets can find with the scans, as I think you have done everything else a body could do. Neurological still is very strong in my mind, and there IS a cause for it if it can just be found. A tumor of some sort may very well be the cause, and it may very well be operable if it can be found using the scanning.


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