Shifting leg lameness, excessive thirst

by Roxanne

I have a five year old female cockatiel named Angel. Mid-October 2008, she started acting lethargic, not preening, and she lost weight (approx. 8 grams). I took her to my avian vet, and she had developed some leg lameness (right leg).

Vet did complete exam, and the only thing she could find was tenderness at the upper leg area. Heart and lungs sounded good. Vet put her on anti-inflammatory (Metacam). Lameness cleared up in a couple of days. Three weeks later, the LEFT leg went lame.

In the meantime, I had the vet do a blood draw, and there were signs of long-term infection. Now I was giving her antibiotics twice a day and anti-inflammatory once a day. Angel's appetite improved, especially after I moved her into my bedroom to make it easier to medicate her.

She seems to eat like a horse, and droppings are normal. She eats a seed mix, pellets and a cooked diet. About three weeks after the left leg "healed", the right leg went lame again. I also noticed that she seems to be drinking about three times as much as normal.

In the last four months, one or the other of her legs has gone lame five times - to the point where she can't walk on it for a couple of days. In addition, she seems to be very clumsy walking on the top of her flat cage after the leg has recovered, has fallen off my shoulder (weak grip), and either cannot or will not lift her foot to scratch her head. She also has difficulty climbing on the cage walls.

I had her on the anti-biotic until it ran out, approx. two months, and she did not show any response to it. She is finally starting to preen her chest and under her wings after four months, and she preened a foot for the first time today. I am at a loss and so is my vet. The only things I have come up with is giardia and avian TB. Any other ideas?

Additional info: I have had cockatiels for 20 years, currently have 8 other adult 'tiels and one new baby, as well as two parakeets, an African Grey and six finches. Bred 'tiels for approx. 10 years. None of the other birds show any sign of disease (including the chick).

Comments for Shifting leg lameness, excessive thirst

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Apr 19, 2009
lame Blue Front
by: Anonymous

This sounds like the same thing my Blue Fronted Amazon is experiencing. We thought he had hurt his leg landing after flying from his perch, and the vet checked him. There was some tenderness, some elevation in muscle enzymes. In between bouts of lameness, he seems fine. He's lost some weight, but is molting, so we're keeping an eye on that. This morning, he was holding the other leg up.
What scares me is that he gets a strange, glazed look in his eyes and doesn't quite seem to know us for about 20 minutes each time this happens. In between, he seems fine: walks, climbs, eats, begs for food. We're a bit baffled.
Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Mar 04, 2009
Cockatiel problems
by: The Vet

In my experience some cockatiels are more susceptible to zinc poisoning than others. I would suggest a few things ? take some x-rays, test for zinc and lead in the blood, start chelation for heavy metals before you get the blood results back.

Let me know what happens, please.

Dr B

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