• Welcome to Avian Avenue! To view our forum with less advertisments please register with us.
    Memberships are free and it will just take a moment. Click here

Cockatiel shortness of breath - please help!

SD1030

Strolling the yard
Joined
1/18/21
Messages
125
So I have a 12 year old cockatiel. About 2-3 years ago, he started exhibiting these weird wet exhale noises, like he’s gasping for breath. Shortness of breath. Wheezing. Sneezing.

Here’s a video of what I’m talking about:

They usually occur after he drinks water or he preens. I lowered the water level of his water bowl and that helps a lot. Episodes used to last 5 minutes and then resolve. I took him to the vet back then and they did cultures and couldn’t find anything wrong. He went on a course of antibiotics. And it still happened. Poop normal. Appetite and eating normal.

After that, for the last few years, he still had an occasional episode. Where he would do it again but maybe once or twice a week. Just a few huffs, and then stop. Again usually after he drinks water.

Last week - he had a really bad flareup where he was doing it for like 20 minutes at a time. All day long, maybe 20 episodes. It was really bad. I rushed him to an avian vet and we are now awaiting culture results. Ironically - after that flareup day, the following days he was much improved and back to normal breathing.

My question is - could this be due to allergies or asthma? I know cockatiels are very dusty birds - could it be allergies?

Your insights are much appreciated!

Please see video. Video here
 

Macawnutz

Seriously Nutz!
Super Administrator
Vendor
Avenue Veteran
Celebirdy of the Month
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
Joined
10/21/11
Messages
32,947
Location
Wisconsin
Real Name
Sarah
The bird emergency forum can only be answered by veteran members of the forum. My suggestion would be to have it moved or post a different thread in healthy highway so everyone can give insight.

I don't find the exhibited behavior in the video that concerning BUT I own macaws and am not used to normal cockatiel behaviors.

What did they culture?
 

Macawnutz

Seriously Nutz!
Super Administrator
Vendor
Avenue Veteran
Celebirdy of the Month
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
Joined
10/21/11
Messages
32,947
Location
Wisconsin
Real Name
Sarah
I would certainly be waiting for the results.
Have they considered x-rays?

I can move this thread if you like.
 

SD1030

Strolling the yard
Joined
1/18/21
Messages
125
I just reposted it in the healthy highway. Yea they were going to do x rays but it was going to be a 3 hour ordeal and I didn’t want to put him through that. I’ll consider it after I get the rest of the results back. I’ve heard these procedures can be really stressful for little birds.
 

Macawnutz

Seriously Nutz!
Super Administrator
Vendor
Avenue Veteran
Celebirdy of the Month
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
Joined
10/21/11
Messages
32,947
Location
Wisconsin
Real Name
Sarah
I have heard it can be tough on smaller guys but if the benefit outweighs the risks... ???


Does your sweetie ever seem wet in his mouth?

I merged the threads
 

SD1030

Strolling the yard
Joined
1/18/21
Messages
125
The fact that’s it’s resolving on its own. And he’s getting better makes me feel like it’s not a bacterial infection. But most like allergies or skmehting. I’ve noticed he’s been molting a lot lately. It’s not a coincidence it’s happening during a heavy molt. The vet said the lungs sounded clear but the air sacs seems a bit inflamed. Been using metacam
 

SD1030

Strolling the yard
Joined
1/18/21
Messages
125
I have heard it can be tough on smaller guys but if the benefit outweighs the risks... ???


Does your sweetie ever seem wet in his mouth?

I merged the threads
Thank you! Yes I’ll definitely consider x rays. Hmm during the flareup yes. But usually not wet in the mouth
 

Macawnutz

Seriously Nutz!
Super Administrator
Vendor
Avenue Veteran
Celebirdy of the Month
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
Joined
10/21/11
Messages
32,947
Location
Wisconsin
Real Name
Sarah
The oral culture is of importance. If you do some reading about how the nares/choana/ears/throat function... it leaves little room for error. Rub their ears and they need to crop adjust. ;)

It never hurts to get an air purifier. Removing toxins will always help a situation when it comes to parrots.
 

SD1030

Strolling the yard
Joined
1/18/21
Messages
125
The oral culture is of importance. If you do some reading about how the nares/choana/ears/throat function... it leaves little room for error. Rub their ears and they need to crop adjust. ;)

It never hurts to get an air purifier. Removing toxins will always help a situation when it comes to parrots.
Thank you yes. I’ve already purchased the Rabbit Air purifier and run in 24/7. I also mist him daily to help with all the dander and dust.
 

Pixiebeak

Biking along the boulevard
Celebirdy of the Month
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
TAILGATING
Cutest Bird Ever!!!
Joined
6/18/22
Messages
7,622
Location
USA
Real Name
Laura
What is his diet ? Vitamin A plays a big role in respiratory health. Low vitamin A messes with their secretions, blunts , causes rhinolyth , lowers immunity.

Allergies are really rare in birds. It's kinda a pet peeve of mine when things get blamed on " allergies" the only allergies I ever come across are new world parrots sensitive to old world like cockatoo dust . Once when " allergies" talk was going around I double checked with my avian veterinarian to see if she had ever heard of such a thing, she had not. I think in that thread I even linked something ..

Not saying low humidity and extra dry doesn't affect airways.

It sorta looks like he is coughing.. unsure...but he looks to be a little chilly. What's the temp in your home?
 

SD1030

Strolling the yard
Joined
1/18/21
Messages
125
What is his diet ? Vitamin A plays a big role in respiratory health. Low vitamin A messes with their secretions, blunts , causes rhinolyth , lowers immunity.

Allergies are really rare in birds. It's kinda a pet peeve of mine when things get blamed on " allergies" the only allergies I ever come across are new world parrots sensitive to old world like cockatoo dust . Once when " allergies" talk was going around I double checked with my avian veterinarian to see if she had ever heard of such a thing, she had not. I think in that thread I even linked something ..

Not saying low humidity and extra dry doesn't affect airways.

It sorta looks like he is coughing.. unsure...but he looks to be a little chilly. What's the temp in your home?
thank you. The temperuatee in my house stays at 77 degrees. I’ve been keeping it warm for him late - 80 degrees.

his diet is 50% seeds 50% pellets plus veggies. Vitamin A is a problem honestly. He doesn’t like carrots at all. So I’m having trouble incorporating vitamin A into his diet
 

Pixiebeak

Biking along the boulevard
Celebirdy of the Month
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
TAILGATING
Cutest Bird Ever!!!
Joined
6/18/22
Messages
7,622
Location
USA
Real Name
Laura
thank you. The temperuatee in my house stays at 77 degrees. I’ve been keeping it warm for him late - 80 degrees.

his diet is 50% seeds 50% pellets plus veggies. Vitamin A is a problem honestly. He doesn’t like carrots at all. So I’m having trouble incorporating vitamin A into his diet
If he eats pellets and veg, then vitamin A should not be an issue. Good diet.

Temp is great.
Does he sit fluffy a lot? If so that's from feeling unwell
Any weight changes?
You obviously care fur him so much , and great job getting him to the veterinarian.
I will follow to see what you find out
 

SD1030

Strolling the yard
Joined
1/18/21
Messages
125
If he eats pellets and veg, then vitamin A should not be an issue. Good diet.

Temp is great.
Does he sit fluffy a lot? If so that's from feeling unwell
Any weight changes?
You obviously care fur him so much , and great job getting him to the veterinarian.
I will follow to see what you find out
thank you! Yes I love him immensely. He’s basically my whole world.

His weight is stable. He’s actually gained wait since the last time he was at the vet 2 years ago. He’s at 87 grams.

hmm he’s very active and sings and plays a lot during the day. But I have noticed he’s been napping and sits fluffy as well. Maybe it’s the wintertime also? I’ll definitely keep you posted.

the vet also said that allergies are rare in birds. So we’ll see what the labs show. It’s just interesting because he’s doing fine now. With barely any episodes today. Just in the morning when he drank water. He huffed like 5 times and stopped. If it was an infection - I can’t imagine him feeling better. It’s supposed to get worse, not go away suddenly…
 

Pixiebeak

Biking along the boulevard
Celebirdy of the Month
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
TAILGATING
Cutest Bird Ever!!!
Joined
6/18/22
Messages
7,622
Location
USA
Real Name
Laura
Intermittent symptoms are normal.
My very very sick one only had intermittent sneezing and liquid from one nostril. Now she has all the real sick bird symptoms, fluff sleep pAll the time weight loss. So this wasn't a case of us she sick or not at all , she was on medication. But her respiratory symptoms were very intermittent,
 

Ginger

Moving in
Joined
12/31/23
Messages
14
The oral culture is of importance. If you do some reading about how the nares/choana/ears/throat function... it leaves little room for error. Rub their ears and they need to crop adjust. ;)

It never hurts to get an air purifier. Removing toxins will always help a situation when it comes to parrots.
Air purifier is a great idea! Ezoecialky when they are molting lots of bird dust. Good luck! ❤
 

SD1030

Strolling the yard
Joined
1/18/21
Messages
125
Okay I have an update.

His culture came back positive for Staph Borealis, which is a gram positive bacteria that is not as pathogenic as Staph Aureaus.

He will be taking trimethoprim/Sulfa 0.04 ml twice daily for 10 days and then re-cultured.

anyone heard of this bacteria? Is trimethorpim/sulfa a commonly used medication for cockatiels?
 

Macawnutz

Seriously Nutz!
Super Administrator
Vendor
Avenue Veteran
Celebirdy of the Month
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
Joined
10/21/11
Messages
32,947
Location
Wisconsin
Real Name
Sarah
Sounds like a plan. Always good to find something when you know something is wrong.
 

Pixiebeak

Biking along the boulevard
Celebirdy of the Month
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
TAILGATING
Cutest Bird Ever!!!
Joined
6/18/22
Messages
7,622
Location
USA
Real Name
Laura
Okay I have an update.

His culture came back positive for Staph Borealis, which is a gram positive bacteria that is not as pathogenic as Staph Aureaus.

He will be taking trimethoprim/Sulfa 0.04 ml twice daily for 10 days and then re-cultured.

anyone heard of this bacteria? Is trimethorpim/sulfa a commonly used medication for cockatiels?
So excellent a culture was done! And even better that it grew and gave results!

It is a safe and effective medication to use. There is no reason to doubt your veterinarian.

I hope you have a fully recovered baby soon!
 

SD1030

Strolling the yard
Joined
1/18/21
Messages
125
Thank you! Yes I’m glad we finally found what was going on. From my understanding - Staph Borealis is a very rare gram positive bug. I hope the 10 days of abx will be useful and that he’ll be able to handle it okay without much side effects. I’m always worried about giving antibiotics, but I know it’s important to.

Do you feel that 0.04ml is a lot for a cockatiel?
 
Top