Whats wrong? Seizures?

by Alexis
(Long Island, New York, US)

I have had my cockatiel for two years now and he is the sweetest bird you could ever imagine. I love him dearly but something has been troubling me. He randomly has weird moments that seem like seizures.

All of a sudden he will randomly tilt his head backwards so that the back of his neck is almost flat against his back and his face is looking straight up. During these fits he can barely stand up and when he starts to fall over he will flap his wings to right himself. This has happened twice I have ruled out night frights as this has always happened during the day in reasonably well lit rooms.

The first time it was after I took a shower (he came in the bathroom with me cause he chirps like crazy when left alone and his wings are clipped and toilet closed so he couldnt get injured). I thought maybe it was from going into such a considerably colder living room after the warm bathroom. But later this happened other times when he had remained in a room for hours and would randomly have a fit. There is no noticeable warning before hand. And after about two minutes of being into one of these fits its over and two minutes after that he is happily chirping and walking around as if nothing ever happened.

His fits occur about once every 4 months. Nothing serious has happened yet but I worry. I love him very much and would be completely heartbroken if anything happened to him. Please help!

Comments for Whats wrong? Seizures?

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Jul 07, 2009
Thank You
by: Anonymous

Thank you so much for your information. I was unsure with what to do. I will take him to see a vet ASAP.

Jul 03, 2009
by: Linda

I completely agree with Tracie. Your bird needs to see an Avian Vet as soon as is possible.

Because the problem could be coming from something toxic in your home, take an inventory of anything that you may not have thought of as toxic. Fingernail polish and remover, hairspray, perfume or after shave, teflon is a biggie as is lead and zinc. Lead and zinc may be found on his cage. When you go to the vet, explain everything about his environment you can think of. Write everything down before you go, and you'll be less likely to forget something.

What kind of cage is he in? The lighter colored powder coated cages usually have too much zinc, and some of the cages made in China can have too high lead and zinc content. Also drinking water could have lead or some other toxin that does not seem to bother you, but will kill birds. Even limestone will kill birds. We live in Limestone,TN so needless to say, we have an under the sink Culligan setup we rent to keep our water clean enough for us, birds and dogs.

Tracie mentioned room deoderizers, and these including Febreeze will kill birds or in low enough doses, they will cause seizure activity. Any canned items that are under pressure will kill birds like Pam, hairspray and many other under pressure items.Processed sugar will also kill birds.

Take stock of everything in your home and ask cage manufacturer to give you the information about lead and zinc testing done in the United States on the powder coat his cage is painted with. The HQ cages are within safety limits for lead, however their light colored cages like white, and brass are high in zinc. Bird toys can also be a source of zinc. Chain needs to be either nickel plated or stainless steel. The same with anything used to hang toys or join them if they are made of metal. We buy stainless steel hardware for our perches and any items we use on the bird toys though nickel plated is much cheaper. You have to be careful to dry the NP off really well to keep it from oxidizing.

So, go to Avian vet, and go over your list with him about potential problems in your home environment. Bird food that has ANY preservatives can also cause seizures and death. Always feed bird organic foods and pellets as well as organic fruit and veggies. Pesticides can also cause the symptoms you are seeing.


Jul 03, 2009
Bird having seizures
by: Tracie

I wish Dr. B could help you, but he can't. You need to take your bird to see an avian vet ASAP. The only way to help your bird, is for an avian vet to examine him and run tests along with getting information from you about the bird's environment.

It is possible that there is something toxic in your house, but from what you describe I don't think that is what is wrong.

Do make sure that you do not have anything Teflon that gets hot. If you have an iron or ironing board cover that is Teflon and they get too hot, it can kill your bird.

If you have a toaster oven that has Teflon coating, it can kill your bird.

If you have a self cleaning oven and you use it to clean your oven, it will likely kill your bird.

There are many toxic fragrances that people use to make their home smell nice, but they are slowly killing their birds. Sometimes they kill them right away.

Anyway, this is very complex, and you need professional help in order to help your bird. Please let us know what you find out.

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