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Pictures Large Bald Spot on Butt

Connie&Clyde

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I have two cockatiels, Connie and Clyde. I've had them for over a year now. My parents fostered them for a few months after the previous owners decided they didn't want birds anymore... their original cage was WAY too small (Connie would slap Clyde in the face every time she stretched her wings), the had gotten no out of cage time, were surrounded by cats and a yappy dog, and were on a seed only diet. In the year I've had them, I more than doubled their cage space, give them as much out of cage time as I can, spend as much time as I can just sitting near them (they were not socialized to people...) and switched them to a pellet diet supplemented by the occasional veggie (when they will accept it...) My problem: since they day my parents first saw them, Connie had a large bald spot on her butt. When I took them in, I believed this bald spot might have been from Clyde pecking at her to get away and give him space as I had seen this behavior multiple times. I figured with the larger cage and actual out of cage time this behavior would lessen and she could grow her feathers back. I was correct in the behavior lessening but Connie has not lost her bald spot. I think it's gotten bigger... it stretches from her butt, around her preening gland, and reaches up to underneath her wings. I fear the lack of feathers over so much of her body might be contributing as to why she has so much difficulty NOT crashing into things... like walls, doors, pictures, the cage, the kitchen sink.... Clyde manages to get around without crashing but Connie seems to crash every time and definitely does not get the same lift as Clyde. She's always panting very heavily after landing too... the vet suggested getting a biopsy to rule out tumor, but if her bald spot was caused by a tumor, would she still be overall fine after over a year of having it? (aside from her clumsiness....) My current suspicion is that the original home stressed her to feather plucking and it's either now just a habit or when feathers do come in it's uncomfortable enough that she plucks in response to them. Unfortunately, getting pictures of her lack of feathers is difficult.... but I tried... essentially I want to know what people think likely causes and solutions might be based on previous experiences 20190428_100858.jpg 20190919_193327.jpg
 

enigma731

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That looks like self mutilating to me. What makes the vet suspect a tumor?
 

JLcribber

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That's right where the preen gland is. Was that avenue explored? Was this an avian vet?
 

Connie&Clyde

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He is an avian vet, I searched hard on the internet to find someone I felt I could trust with birds. He did a blood test and concluded mostly normal from that. Calcium was slightly low but not enough to cause worry unless she's laying eggs. She is not and they do have a cuttle bone available. I don't know what made him think tumor other than things are difficult to know for sure and he wants to definitely rule out tumor, infections, or hypersensitivity which he said a biopsy would find. After he brought it up, my mind went through a bit of worst case scenario so it must be true thoughts, but birds don't get serious medical issues that last a year and still act fine.... In what way do you suggest exploring the avenue of the preen gland? As of now, I haven't done anything specific other than try to improve overall quality of life.
 

enigma731

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If the biopsy would look for infection or other abnormalities too, I would do it. Another (or an additional) option would be to put a soft collar on her and see if the area heals when she no longer has access to it.

You should know that because her mutation is whiteface lutino, she's genetically predisposed to health problems, including a compromised immune system.
 

Garet

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It looks like she has a few smaller patches of missing feathers. (Just above and to the left of the bald spot, and on the right wing, both visible in the first picture)
 

Ripshod

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Any chance you could get a good photo of her right wing fully open, I may be seeing a gap in the flights after the outermost primary. A partial clip or mutilated flights there would explain the clumsy flight.
I agree with @JLcribber, if that's the preen gland I can see there it looks inflamed and needs attention. A closer picture would probably show there's no wick feather there, probably plucked along with the others because of discomfort from the preen gland.
Strange an AV would miss that, so even I'm doubting what I see.
 
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Connie&Clyde

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Tried my best to get a couple more pictures.... She is missing feathers on her right wing in the first picture and I knew about those. They fell out after crashing into a wall and have since grown back, she flew VERY crooked until her wings evened out, acted a bit depressed during that time. 20190920_061740.jpg 20190920_061656.jpg Couldn't get her wing spread out while holding a camera, but did manage to get a look under a wing to attempt showing how bald she is there. When her wings are closed enough you would never tell, but then she stretches....
 

enigma731

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Is that dark spot under the wing bruising?
 

Ripshod

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Parrot wingpits have never been tidy so if it's not actually plucked bare and just looks totally untidy it"s completely normal. The first of this latest pair of photos shows a fairly even plucked area around the preen gland. I can't see if the wick feather is present or not, nonetheless I'd be straight back to the vet.
 

Zara

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I fear the lack of feathers over so much of her body might be contributing as to why she has so much difficulty NOT crashing into things... like walls, doors, pictures, the cage, the kitchen sink...
mutilated flights there would explain the clumsy flight.

I´d like to add input on the flight situation.
Lack of a few body feathers won´t affect flight. I have a lovie who plucks pretty severely and he is one of my best flyers, so fast and so sharp - it blows my mind.
I second that if your bird has some flight feathers bent, plucked or clipped then that would be a more reasonable explaination.

Good luck with finding an answer ❤
 

Connie&Clyde

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Tried to get some closer pictures but it's difficult without help.... I did get close ups of the back but nothing of her wings... the black spots could be bruises (there's one under each wing) they've been there since day one. It's really hard to get pictures of, but the bald spot does reach up and under her wings, when she fully spreads out I can skin all under her wings. But of course, she folds them back up any time my camera is out....
 

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Connie&Clyde

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Oh, and while trying to get those pictures, it seems she's figured out how to avoid the walls, just took her longer than Clyde to learn to fly, not crash, and land I guess
 

Connie&Clyde

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So, after reading you guys commenting about the wick feather, I began questioning if the vet was the avian vet I thought I went to.... pretty sure this conversation is the first I've heard the term and figured a good avian vet would've mentioned it to me.... concluded I believe I misread his online bio and might want to go to a different vet. Maybe one who'll discuss things more easily with me and answer questions more satisfyingly.
 

Connie&Clyde

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In case anyone is curious: After visiting a different vet, one whose practice only works on exotics, it was concluded that Connie's preening gland is fine and nothing abnormal could be found from a basic physical examination (besides a lack of feathers.... but there are some trying to grow in). She did a cytology exam as well and found nothing of worry there. She did, however, suggest radiology as a next step diagnosis. About $200 less than a biopsy with the original vet, less invasive, and overall less nerve racking of an idea for me honestly...... I suppose my biggest concerns at this point is to find out there's a serious problem that I can then do nothing about... on the other hand, finding that nothing is wrong and she's just simply bald at this point would be a relief (an expensive relief but a relief).... but I guess I'll never know without further diagnosis, right?
 

Connie&Clyde

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So... one radiology exam later, the vet is saying her cloelem area looked a little fuller than expected, implying enlarged GI tract, enlarged kidneys, or enlarged reproductive organs..... another xray is required to check if it's the GI tract and she wants another blood test to confirm it's not the kidneys, otherwise, she's suggesting treating enlarged reproductive organs with lupron injections.... I started this venture mostly expecting to get a lecture on how to make sure they get proper baths..... and now looking at the possibility of needing $70 injections of meds into my bird....
 
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