Quaker Parrot seizure?

by Lynn
(Charleston, WV)

Recently my 12 year old quaker sort of slipped off his perch, his feet/toes were balled up like fists (so he couldn't perch), and was breathing heavy. By the time I got him to the vet (30 min later) he was fine. No unusual symptoms at all. Almost a week and a half later, another similer episode happened this evening. One of his feet balled up, so of course I immediately held him and stroked his little head to keep him calm...within 1-2 mintues he was fine.

The vet listened to his heart and lungs at the first visit and instructed me to bring him back for blood tests if it happened again.

Is this something common in quaker parrots? I am so scared of a brain tumor or stroke.

This little quaker gets TONS of attention, has a huge house (which 99% of the time he is never locked in), lots of healthy snacks, all kinds of toys....I'm just so worried!

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Jul 19, 2015
just lost my quigley of 30 years
by: Anonymous

I am very very upset and sad my quigley died of 30 years he used to talk alot he used to call.the kitty's tel you to get b**ch lol after I'd vacuum he'd say there yah go if I played my music to loud he'd yell what what he'd say angel pretty girl Cas is a pretty dirty dirty bird and lots more he was hanging upside down I asked him if he was playing he fell to the bottom of his cage and his feet were balled up this happened several times before he always came out of it but by time me and my husband got to him he was dead I am so sad .

Dec 15, 2012
To Deserae
by: Robin

I am so sorry for your loss, I know how painful it is. You were blessed for wonderful 4 days and I know it is hard to do right now but try to think of all the good memories you both had in such a short period of time.

Dec 15, 2012
Gunther the Quaker
by: Deserae

Two days ago my quaker had passed away. He had show no symptoms he was perfectly fine. I had bought him 4 days ago and i was very heart broken to see him go. The past 4 days i got to know my bird and i knew from the beginning we would get along. There was something special about him. On the first day he was scared to be patted but eventually he ended up liking it. The second day i let him out his cage and watched him wonder his new home. the third day he started to cuddle with me and would follow me around the house it was adorable. The fourth was just a regular day i would take him out the cage and usual let him roam around. Later that dy we fell asleep together and i woke up and found him still asleep so i just sat next to him and not wake him. Around 9pm i heard him flap his wings and i take a long to find him laying awkwardly in bed. I got so scared i picked him up and knew something was wrong. Called the vet and took him. He did not make it on the way. I cryed so much he had ment alot to me even tho i wished he lived longer i felt devastated to see him like that. I still remember seeing his eyes looking straight at me while i petted him on his head. I miss him so much from the days we spent i had tooking a picture of him each day and to see his last makes me cry. RIP Gunther i love you in my heart.

Jul 30, 2012
So Sorry to Bethany and her husband
by: Robin

Your comment brought back memories of our beloved Manny, I just told my husband about your loss and we feel your pain. I have never felt such a bond for our little guy. It will get better in time and we both are thinking of you and our prayers go out to you both and Simon.

Jul 30, 2012
by: Bethany

I lost my 12 year old Quaker last night. He had no previous symptoms. I found him on the floor of his cage dying. I did notice that his feet were balled. My husband and I are so sad. We thought that he would live another 8 to 18 years. I am so glad that we have 2 other birds. But now we will worry about everything with them. My prayers and thoughts go out to everyone who have gone through this.

Mar 29, 2012
What to do?
by: Clare

Please help me. I am scared. My nine year old quaker is having mood swings and screaming. I am afraid that it is a brain tumor. I can't afford to take her to the vet, for I am 14 years old. I told my parents but they don't care and said if I wanted to take her I had to pay for it myself. I have only $200 and know I can barely afford to take her. I will not be able to pay for the tests. I need someone who understands. I am so upset. I need an opinion. Please tell me what to do.

Editor's note: If you want people to see and answer, you need to post a question, not an answer here to another question, at Parrot Questions This doesn't sound like a brain tumor though, it sounds like he/she is hormonal. And most Avian vets do take payments.

Jul 02, 2011
We Get So Attached...
by: Delphince

I lost my 13-yr-old Quaker, Quigibo, in November of 2009. I've raised nestling birds to adults and rehabilitated them into the wild since I was a kid, so I decided to raise this little Quaker myself from the age of 3 weeks back in '96. We were inseparable, even though everyone else thought she was a bit of a jerk. There were times when it was just her, my car, a couple suitcases, and myself. When she was around 10, she even flew out an open door on Halloween, did a tour around the neighborhood, and flew back to where I was calling to her in the street five or six hours later.

On November 2, my girlfriend called me at work to say that Quigi was acting strange. She'd screamed, fallen off her cage (even though she was now glide-flighted instead of full-flighted), and was lying immobile on the floor until my GF scooped her up, making the frightened-scream any time she was touched. I thought the situation was exaggerated, but went on break and drove home. She was presented to me with her feathers ruffled, lying on her side, and panting heavily.

I burst into tears when I saw her, and even after 20 months am crying as I write this. My girlfriend got scared and started yelling at me to stop, that it couldn't be that bad and that she had to get better now that I was home. I told her Quigi was dying, I didn't know why, but that I knew there was nothing I could do about it. I held my little bird close, kept repeating that I promised I'd love her forever, and said goodbye. A few moments later she closed her eyes, her breathing slowed, stopped, and she was gone.

I hadn't even been home for two or three minutes, and one of the worst nights of my life had begun. I couldn't let go of her for two hours.

It's always been a mystery what happened to her. Stroke, seizure; I don't know. Though I count myself lucky I was able to say goodbye. Before that night, I never had much stake in the idea that a pet will sometimes wait for a loved one to be with them before they die, but I will never accept the idea of her waiting for me was just a coincidence. Still, while I don't carry the regret of not being there in time, I think in a way it hurts so much more because I was. It felt like my teenage daughter had died in my arms.

Reading these stories makes me feel a little closer to understanding what befell her that night, though in the end I know I'll never know for sure. Not knowing is one of the worst parts of the whole thing, and I miss her terribly.

Mar 25, 2011
Manny our Nanday Conure
by: Robin

Hi Lynn,
I am crying my eyes out reading your posts, so sorry for your loss. We just lost Manny our one and a half year old Nanday Conure this morning, very similiar to your story. We were giving him calcium twice a day but noticed the regurgiation movements the last 2 days. We are beside ourselves..like you said you feel like you lost a person, he did everything with me, talked to me, etc. I just pulled in the driveway a little while ago and my husband swears he heard him do the "your home squauk!" I think I will take a break for a couple days and read the stories again because it did help me some today.

Mar 12, 2011
by: shannon

My Quaker has been suffering these same seizures. I think i know the reason for his though. Every morning I take a shower with him and I brush my teeth in the shower. He used to try to get my toothbrush so i gave him a taste of the paste. About thirty seconds later, he Fluttered down to the bottom of the shower very lost. He was panicked. I picked him up and his left foot was tightened up and he was "panting" He looked very scared! I was scared. I hadn't known it was the toothpaste and then it happened again a few days later. (keep in mind, I had just recently switched to a baking soda and peroxide...no other toothpastes did this to him) Anyway, the second time, he flew out of the shower into the wall, into the mirror, into a window and I finally got hold of him and pet his head and talked calmly to him and kept saying his name. His foot was tightened again! It has happened two other times. Believe me, the third and fourth time I did not purposely give him the paste. I had it sitting ready and he snuck to it and took a nibble. I have to be very cautious about this now! I am hoping this is all it is.

Feb 07, 2011
QP seizure
by: Trisha

My mimi started having seizures about age 13. The feet curling is typical symptom. We had many tests done & can't find the cause of her seizures & may never know. I've learned 2 b calm when it happpens & comfort her when these episodes occur. She's on a cocktail of meds and chinese herbs & it took many months to find the right doses to keep her seizures under control. She used to have several every day & now, thank God, no episodes that we know about since dec 23. We moved her from the living room to our bedroom in case the noise & flashes from the tv were triggering her seizures. We also had to stop using the sun lamp as they worsened her seizures. Her diet was great but we had to make it even better. And unfortunately I had to cut back on her flying time because of possible injuries when seizure happens mid flight. I hope u find the cause of your birds seizures. Try to find a board certified avian vet.

Feb 06, 2011
My Blue & Gold is having the SAME sympthoms
by: Alex

Hi there!

I have a 18.5 years old B & G. She had the a 'seizure' more then a year ago: It was just like you have described. Few minutes After the incidents, she was OK and nothing happend for more then a year.
Last week it happend again,
and today again

What happens with your bird? Was this anything serious?

What should I do?

Editor's note: You need to take your bird to an avian vet to find out what is causing this before your bird dies.

Apr 23, 2010
Bird seizures
by: Lynn


I am very sorry for the loss of your little birdie. I certainly understand how you feel!


Apr 14, 2010
my bird died yesterday
by: shyam

I owned a wonderful male alexandrine for the past 1 year. He was the most tame and loving bird I knew. Talkative and chirpy mostly calling out his name Mithoo again and again. Unfortunately he developed these same kind of seizures over the past 6 months and it increased to the level that he died a very painful death right in front of me. I really miss him now.

It started as a very subtle weakness of his leg with difficulty standing. It increased over the weeks, last for 1 or 2 minutes, then he would shake himself and be allright. And all of a sudden he stopped talking, stopped making all the wonderful noises, and unusually silent. I tried to to give him medicines for worms, Neurobion a neurostimulator availabe in India, but somehow I knew it wasnt going to stop. Specialised vet care is very limited here and therefore I could only pray that he be allright.

His legs became powerless, he couldnt hold the food in his hand. I used to cut them into small pieces so that he could peck at them. He used to sit in one place all day long and occasionally struggling with balance. He would also have fits of flapping and look disoriented and then correct himself.

The end was very horrible and painful to watch. The last 2 days he stopped eating and his feet couldnt support his body. I placed a cushion on the cage floor so that he could recline against it. In between he would be thrown about with his neck arching towards his back almost like a bow. In the end his little life blew out right while I was palpating his heart.

I had him only for a year, but this bird taught me that it had a personality. It turned me into a birdlover and now I sorely miss it.

I have put the symptoms in detail so that if you recognize these symptoms in your bird, do something about it or else prepare yourself for the impending loss.

Jan 22, 2010
Dedication to Pogo (6/1997-12/27/09)
by: Lynn

To those of you keeping up with Pogo's story, you know she suddenly passed away after Christmas. My heart is broken and it just feels like the ache will never end. She was such a sweet, cuddly little Quaker...loved giving hugs by bonking her head against my cheek and constantly gave me kisses. It's not the same coming home to all of her empty cages, play-gyms, and her toys with no Pogo to enjoy them...no excited birdie squeaks as soon as your car pulls into the garage.....no carrying her on my shoulder everywhere I go....it feels like I've lost a person.
It is amazing how much one small ball of feathers can touch your heart. I look at her pictures and cry, I go into a pet shop with birdies and cry, I scrubbed all of her cages this past weekend and cried and cried...it is awful! She was with me through graduate school, traveled with me to all of my residency locations, studied with me, ate with me...I just can't believe after 12 1/2 years she's just gone! She was still so young and had so much life to live.

I know eventually I may get another bird, but right now I feel like would replacing my best friend. I don't know if I could get another Quaker because I would always think of my Pogie.

The following poem by Emily Dickinson is my dedication to her memory.

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune--without the words,
And never stops at all

Pogo, I love you and miss you terribly. May God keep you in His gentle hands until I see you again, for I can't imagine God would make Heaven a place without His sweet little creatures in it. Please keep my dad company while you're there, perch on his shoulder, give him kisses, and wait for me!

Love, Lynn

Dec 29, 2009
Sudden death of Pogo
by: Lynn

Not sure what happened. On Christmas day I could tell she wasn't feeling quite right, sleeping a lot. She threw up Christmas evening then started to feel better . I cheched on her every 2 hrs through the night, she seemed to sleep well on her little heated perch next to her flannel snuggle buddy. Next am she was up eating her Zupreem pellets and seemed much better, although she made some regurgitation movements with her neck. My local vet wasn't in till Monday , so I called dr . Mohan. He said he would be glad to see her, give her a drop of Ginger extracted from Ginger root on mean time. She did so good Saturday. Had good appetite, preened in sunshine coming through window. I held her for hours that evening scratching her little head. She seemed normal. Put her to bed about 10,checked on her several more times until 1 am. She was sleeping peacefully. Early next am when I went to uncover her she wasn't on any of her perches...that's when I spotted her at bottom of cage already dead. I have cried & cried holding her little fluffy body. I should have taken her to the vet anyway, she just seemed so much better. She did have one more foot seizure on the 23rd so I don't know if there was any relation. My heart is just broken!!!!! How I love that little thing! So much love and personality! I just miss her soooooooo much. I don't know what I will do without her.

Dec 28, 2009
by: Anonymous

Oh my God, Lyn, what happened????? I'm sooo sorry for your loss. I'm crying because I know how you feel. Please know that she's in a better place, God is taking care of her now. (Email address removed, we do not post email addresses) I'm so sorry!!!!


Dec 28, 2009
Death of beloved Pogo girl
by: Lynn

My little baby girl passed away yesterday . I am devastated and my heart is broken. She was doing so well, so was a shock . I will forever have her in my heart. There will never be another hug or kiss from my little Pogo girl. It is awful seeing her empty cages and play gyms and not hearing her little chirps.


Dec 21, 2009
Resolution to Quaker Parrot Seizures
by: Lynn

Pogo, my 12 year old Quaker, developed unusual foot seizures this past September. When the seizures continued while taking 0.25 cc Phenobarbitol bid, my vet recommended seeing an Avian specialist in Columbus, Ohio.

We took Pogo promtly to Dr. Mohan (Avian Health Clinic for Birds) in Columbus 5 weeks ago. He did the most through and extensive bird examination on my little "greenie", including extensive blood work and DNA testing.

Dr. Mohan felt that the seizures could easily be due to her low calcuim levels. So, we discontinued the Phenobarbitol, added daily liquid calcuim to her diet, multivitamins in her juice/water, and a vitamin shot and Haldol shot (in office) to discourage her feather plucking.

I am happy to report my little Pogo has been like a new birdie! So happy and playful, wonderful appetite, AND NO SEIZURES IN 5 WEEKS!


For all of those parrot owners out there, you know the relief you feel when your little buddies are no longer ill....well, I can't begin to tell you how extatic I am! THANK YOU, DR MOHAN, for helping my little girl! I love my parrot and can't imagine my life without her!

I hope this story helps someone else out there who has a parrot experiencing something similar.

Merry Christmas!


Nov 23, 2009
Quaker Parrot Seizure
by: Lynn

Hi Trisha,

Glad little Mimi is doing better. We just love our little "greenies"! They are so special!

Pogo is still having small foot seizures almost once every 1-2 weeks...lasting only 5 minutes and always in the left foot. My mom has been "birdie-sitting" during the day while I'm working, so that has helped us to know the frequency. My vet says the half-life of Pheno is about 12 hours, so twice daily is a common dosage. I have noticed most seizures have occured around dosing time, so I'm not sure if the Pheno is just beginning to wear off when the seizure begins...I am very careful to give him his med. very close to 12 hours apart.

Because he still is having seizures, I am taking Pogo this upcoming Friday to a true avian specialist in Columbus, Ohio. (I still worry constantly about the underlying cause) I only hope and pray his seizures are not secondary to some other serious health condition. His appetite is great, no personality changes...still his little happy, feather plucking self. My vet also prescribed Prozac for the feather picking(1 cc qd), which I've decided only to give him after a second opinion. Luckily, he has only been a feather picker for the past 10 years...never a self-mutilator. My little fella's legs and tummy are quite bald, but I couldn't love him more if he had millions of feathers.

Did your vet ever determine the true cause of Mimi's seizures (liver, Pseudomonas..etc)?

I, too, would love to hear from anyone else with a parrot with seizures.


Nov 14, 2009
by: Trisha

Hi Lynn,

I'm happy to report that Mimi is doing better. I having been giving her 1cc pheno every morning and that has controlled the seizures & spasms, at least when I'm home. She could be having seizures while I'm at work, I have no way of knowing that for sure. And now she is having strange behavior of going into trances, very vocal and then she attacks her wings. I have to yell her name to get her to snap out of it. Someone on another forum just mentioned, without knowing she has seizures, that it could be seizure related. Very interesting.

I always worry about her getting mutilation syndrome - that would break my heart. I have a cockatiel in a cage next to hers so they chirp, whistle, talk and yell at each other.
And I don't think hip arthritis is common with quakers, per my vet. He's puzzled by the various xrays that he's taken which indicates arthritic condition.

And I don't know about hiking to Ohio :)...Mimi can barely handle the 7 hr roundtrip ride to our vet in Ft Laud.
I hope our little green chickens stay well - the stress of being a "special needs bird mommy" has been very rough for me this year.

Keep us posted on Pogo and thanks for replying to me.


Oct 23, 2009
Quaker Parrot Seizure
by: Anonymous


Wow, your little QP has been through quite the ordeal! Is arthritis common in Quaker parrots? Our little feather fluffs are just like family, so it breaks our hearts to see them sick.

Pogo was one day shy of 5 weeks without a seizure on 0.2 cc pheno twice a day when another foot spasms happened. One week later another occured while my mom was over "bird-sitting". My vet recommended increasing the dosage to 0.25 cc twice a day, so for the last 5 days seizures have subsided. I now think now Pogo is actually getting at least 0.2 cc by filling the syringe to 0.25 because some drips out of the beak, or he flips some here and there.....hopefully this will work. My vet didn't feel like it was a brain tumor (although I worry about it) b/c no personality changes have been noticed, blood work normal, and b/c of the infrequency of the focal foot seizures.

Unfortunatley, my little guy has been a feather picker since the age of 2, so is quite bald in the tummy and leg area. The vet says she has quite a few Quakers on Prozac for that very reason....I just don't want to have to add another med if I don't have to...she said just be thankful he isn't a self-mutilator. On a positive note, she says his good physique is quite easy to view!

If pheno doesn't regulate his seizures, she did recommend an avian hospital in Ohio for a second opinion. Whatever it takes!!!!

I do hope your little Mimi will start to do better. Has the vet recommend anything for the liver issues/tumors besides your current regimen? It does seem like my little Pogo has been helped with the Pheno, and he has tolerated it quite well....he is still his perky little self. Do you have any other birds/quakers? My vet did recommend a companion to help stop feather-picking, but Pogo didn't take so well to another quaker I recently bird-sat....not sure what to do???


Oct 08, 2009
by: Trisha

Hi Lynn,
I'm glad that your quaker is doing better. My quaker (Mimi)is 13yrs & was healthy 'til 2009. She has been sick this whole year..arthritis, liver issues, tumors, high WB cell count & seizures.She has been on, up to 8 meds/herbs 2x day given orally plus I just finished injections 2x/day for 10 days(and now she is terrified of me, can't blame her). My vet doesn't want me to give her pheno unless it's really urgent. So I only give it to her on days when she's having spasms/seizures.I think she has permanent neurological damage but I pray that I'm wrong.And I think the seizures are from liver issues,though my vet was thinking it was from psuedomonas & klebsiella (which is why I was injecting antibiotics as she didn't get better from 2 attempts orally).I don't know what else I can do for her.I'm thinking about giving her pheno daily,even when she's not having any issues. My vet is board certified and has been great to my birds for 10+ yrs but I now drive 7 hrs roundtrip to see him and these vet visits are rough for Mimi so I'm contemplating getting a 2nd opinion. I've tried some local vets in the past but I haven't found a good one. I appreciate any tips, advice, prayers, etc...from anyone out there who has experience with parrot seizures.

Sep 23, 2009
Quaker Parrot Seizure
by: Lynn

My little Pogo birdie has been on his phenobarbitol (0.2 cc q12h) for two weeks now and has been seizure free! Yea! He has been his normal, happy little self giving birdie hugs and kisses and dancing to his music! The phenobarb. hasn't had any sedative effects at all, but I think is has increased his appetite...but at 95 grams he could stand an extra gram or two (with healthy food and snacks, of course).

I would love to hear from anyone out there who has had a similar experience (a Quaker or any other parrot). Thanks!


Editor's note: You need to post this as a new question, so people will answer it. You posted your question as a reply to another question.

Sep 13, 2009
Quaker update
by: The Vet

Thank you for the update. It sounds like you are getting good veterinary care. Seizures can be caused by many things and I see seizures frequently, if you consider the many causes. For example, seizures can occur with nutritional deficiencies, which is one of the most common causes for health problems in birds.

Dr B

Sep 12, 2009
Siezure in Quaker Parrot
by: Lynn

Thank you for all of your comments. Pogo has since seen a vet and then an avian vet. Had to take blood from his jugular vein, which caused him to have seizure from the shock and trauma...poor little thing! Only his URIC levels were slightly elevated, which we are going to watch closely. I started him on 0.2 cc of phenobarbitol every 12 hours 2 days ago...so far Pogo takes his medicine well and has been his perky little self. When I haven't been able to be with him b/c of work, my mom has been bird-sitting, so no signs of seizures for past 2 days..but we are monitoring him closely. If blood work changes or if seizures are not controlled, I am taking him to a specialist in Columbus, OH.

I do feed him Zupreem pellets as well as lot of healthy "people" food. I did feed him Harrison's in the past, but he would hardly eat them unless I crushed the pellets and added a little peanut butter as flavoring. I am going to order some more, though, and give it another try.

Pogo is 12,which is still young for a Quaker from what I understand (I've had him since 3 months of age). I haven't had him DNA sexed yet, but if it isn't too traumatic, I could have that done at his next vet visit. I only hope and pray the cause is ideopathic and not a brain tumor or liver failure! I LOVE THAT BIRD!!!!!

If anyone else has had any similar situations, please comment. Or if you are a vet, how common are seizures in birds? Thank you so much! I would appreciate hearing from you!


Sep 05, 2009
Quaker parrot seizures
by: The Vet

This is not common to only Quakers specifically. It can and does happen to many species. These symptoms can be brought on by brain tumors and strokes. They can also be caused by calcium deficiency.

What are you feeding your bird? If he is not eating pellets, like Harrison's, then that could be the cause.

Your veterinarian should do blood work and x-rays at the minimum. A good physical exam including listening to the heat is also recommended. Have you had a DNA test done? If not, then have that done when the blood is drawn. Knowing the sex can help rule in or out some diseases.
Dr B

Sep 05, 2009
by: Linda

Good Morning and thanks for writing. Go ahead and take him back to vet for blood work as it could show some kind of toxin in his blood possibly from his environment or water supply. Birds need to have reverse osmosis filtered water because they cannot tolerate the chlorine and even fluoride in some water supplies. We use an under the sink system from Culligan, and you can find one in your area by looking in the yellow pages. We rent the system, and even our coffee tastes so much better now that the lime, chlorine and fluoride is out of water. Our water also has other bad things in it that are toxic to birds, dogs, cats and humans. Birds are so small that it will effect them earlier which serves as a warning and may save your lives over a period of time.

The bloodwork will show if there are concentrations of anything in his blood and organs. If not, he may have something else going on. Do have your water checked--the companies who provide the reverse osmosis systems will test it for free when they come out to talk with you about their products. If you have well water, they can attach a system to it where the entire house water supply is filtered. They did not have room for it in our house, so we just have clean drinking water.


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