Why is my Conure slowing losing feathers around his eyes & nose?

by Valerie DeLaCruz
(Rail Road Flat, CA, USA)

Jenday Conure, Saki 12/23/09

Jenday Conure, Saki 12/23/09

Dear Doctor,
My Jenday Conure Saki is slowing losing his tiny feathers around his eyes and nose. We've had him for 10 months and this problem is slowly progessing. We did take him to an Avain Vet and she said he had poor feather quality but did not find anything wrong with the blood and fecal tests she did. She even did a Beak and Feather test which was negitive. She said to up the humidity but that doesn't seem to help much.

Saki eats a good diet of Harrison's pellets, fruit and veggies. He loves Cream of Wheat, could he be having a reaction to that? Looks like he had this problem when we got him because from the pictures I've taken of him since March 09, he had some loss then too. His tail feathers are kind of choppy and raggity also but is not losing them. We're going to go to another Avain Vet for a second opinon, but any advice would help because at this rate he'll be bald soon.
Thank you,
Valerie

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Dec 31, 2009
Why is my Conure slowing losing feathers around his eyes & nose?
by: Valerie

Thank you so much! Yes I will try what you said too. Also, Saki's throat was swabed w/neg results. Unfortunatly we do smoke but try to keep it out side. I personally think its an alergic reaction to Cream of Wheat which we'll stop right away, and/or feather mites. Saki was not given a skin scrapping at his last vet visit but on his next one maybe he will if the vet thinks he needs one. Will keep you updated on diagnoses and progress. Thank you again for your help and Happy New Year too to you all. Valerie

Dec 26, 2009
Conure losing feathers
by: The Vet

This could be caused by a food allergy, so I would stop feeding the Cream of Wheat. To test this theory, you should feed ONLY Harrison's for at least 30 ? 60 days. That means no treats. And see if it improves.

If it started before you got the bird, then you need to find out from the previous owner what they were feeding and if anything was unusual. It could also be caused by an upper respiratory infection. I have also seen mites do this, but never on a large bird; still is worth testing for. Does anyone smoke in your home? It is good to go for a second opinion and do some more diagnostics. Please let me know what they find.

Dr B

Dec 24, 2009
Why is my Conure slowing losing feathers around his eyes & nose?
by: Linda

Valerie, it is Linda again with one more thing.

If you are using a humidifier, stop that immediately as it will give your bird pneumonia. It will be much better to use a plastic plant sprayer with a little clean warm (not hot) water in it and mist your bird a time or two a day. In the winter, the central heat or whatever kind of heat dries out the air and so dries out our skin and your bird's and any other pets.

The mister works very well, and you do not need to get him soaked, just misted some to keep down the dust and/or wash some of it off him. It will provide plenty of moisture if you go ahead and spray down the cage and perches some as well. This kind of moisure will fill the air in his cage and immediate area and give him the light kind of moisure he needs. Just don't get him soaking wet to the skin as he may get a chill.

Another trick for moisture is to find some small rocks and a plastic rectangular container. This can be filled with water just over the tops of the rocks and put somewhere in the area of bird's cage. Make sure bird does not drink any of this water or bite on the rocks. As the water evaporates, it will put moisture back into the air and keep you from having to mist him as often.

Just make sure this rock, water and plastic container is out of reach of children, other pets and the bird. I've used this method a lot in the winter, and it works very well and is a non-invasive, safe way to add moisture to the air. I've also used a fish tank with the pump and no fish, but this got to be almost as much trouble as if I had fish in there. Which is another good idea. A small 10 gallon tank with a few of the smaller fish in there with a good pump for the aerator. You'll also need a little heater for the smaller tropical fish. These are just ideas to get some moisture into the bird's environment in a safe way.

Have a wonderful Holiday and an abundant and prosperous New Year!
Linda

Talk later...
Linda

Dec 24, 2009
Why is my Conure slowing losing feathers around his eyes & nose?
by: Linda

I'm not sure your question came in on the "Ask Vet a Question". If it did, then he will pick it up when he can.

This sounds like possibly a parasite like feather mites. I would go ahead and take your bird to another Avian Vet if one is close to you for a second opinion. For one thing, the stool sample test is not an accurate one when testing for bacterial infections. Taking a swab of bird's throat is much better and will show the exact bacteria if present. The reason a stool sample is not as helpful as there is always some bacteria in a stool sample and does not necessarily show what the real infection is. The throat swab has to be done to make sure of any bacterial infection diagnosis.

It sounds like his diet is great, and we also use Harrisons and have for years. I'd stop the cream of wheat because it is causing an imbalance in bird's vitamins, minerals and proteins. On the Harrisons' bags, they say what you can feed as additions to the diet and what you cannot. Basically, only organic dark yellow, orange and green veggies like dark green leaf lettuce, yellow squash and baked sweet potato. The cream of wheat may not be THE main problem, but it is not helping and is making his diet off balance which leads to bad feather and skin condition.

So, when you go to the second Avian vet, be sure to tell him everything your bird eats. Fruit and veggies should be no more than 10% of the overall diet with the pellets making up the majority of the diet. No other additions of vitamins and/or minerals are needed, and nothing like the cereal you are feeding is required. The creame of wheat is just a lot of salt, sugar and filler if you are buying it from a regular grocery. I'd stop feeding it immediately.

If your bird was not tested for parasites, then he could have feather mites which will eat him alive and he WILL go bald. A skin scrape is needed to determine if mites or other parasites are present, so if that was not done, it needs to be done.

Hopefully, the Vet will pick up your question as well, and his advice will be to take bird to another Avian Vet because our online Vet cannot see the bird and so cannot diagnose and treat any problems.

Keep us posted as your little bird needs real help very soon before this problem gets any worse.

Linda

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