Lakeland Parrot & Bird-keepers Club
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I have a male Alexandrine parrot (age unknown) - I have had him for 11 years. Over the recent few months he has started to rest more and not perch on one leg as much - actually resting his breast against the perch. If he gets the chance he will actually lie down on me. He is eating well, flies around quite a bit, and is quite vocal. He has lost weight recently and I can feel that his breast bone is quite prominent. I took him to a local vet at the weekend who said he was in good health and was probably just an elderly bird. His diet includes a standard parrot mix and he has a lot of fruit and vegetable every day.
Any advice would be appreciated?

Without seeing your bird this is a difficult one.
If you can feel his breastbone is sounds as though he is not digesting his food properly - esp. if u say he is eating enough and still losing weight.Possibly adding a pro-biotic to some soft food - to ensure he takes it on board will help - a bit like Actimel helps a human populate the digestive system with good bacteria. If you add Pro-biotic to water it will depend on how much he drinks as to how much he ingests - you could add to both initially.
Frozen > cooked sweet-corn is usually readily eaten by all birds and relished + contains good feed value - u could sprinkle a little pro-biotic onto the sweet-corn.
I will send your email to our Avian Vet for her thoughts and get back to you but I would recommend starting with the pro-biotic as it can only help esp. if he is losing weight.
Will he eat shredded chicken? If so you could add just a little to his food + boiled egg mashed with digestive or rich tea biscuits.

Advice (from Avian Vet)
I2] I think it would be worthwhile checking out if he has any problems in his pelvis; enlarged kidneys/ gonads which could be affecting the nerves to his legs. It would also be worth checking his kidney function (a blood test would do this) and if OK, maybe some painkillers might help - your vet can advise you as there are no painkillers which are brought out specifically for birds but we do use some dog and cat painkillers in some circumstances.
Has he been wormed recently? If not this might be worth doing to ensure this isn't a cause for his weight loss.

Owners response (1)

Thank you very much for getting back to me so quickly - I really do appreciate it.
 He does eat sweet-corn every day and  loves it - and funnily enough he enjoys a rich tea biscuit which he soaks himself in his drinking water - but I will now add a pro-biotic to his food/water.  I will also try to get him to eat a boiled egg (he won't touch chicken).
The local vet did say that his breathing is normal and that there was nothing going on with his nasal passages.
 I just feel upset that he wants to lean rather than actually perch upright and most of the time now he is on two legs.  I have added rope in his cage now which I feel is perhaps a bit softer and he also has wooden branches.  I put him out almost every day in an Aviary so he can feel sunshine and experience natural branches for his feet.
I bought him from a pet shop where he was being kept in a ridiculously small cage - I have no idea how old he is as he was already an adult bird then complete with his neck-ring.
The vet I went to is a registered avian vet and he did have a good feel around for tumours etc.  However, I was surprised that he did not perform any blood tests for further investigation.  I will now follow all the advice you have given me including worming him and I may seek out another vet that I can take him to.
Thanks you again for your advice and I will keep in touch.

Owners response (2)

Just to give you an update on my Alexandrine, Adam.  The new Vet I went to was extremely knowledgeable and examined the x-ray and found that Adam has arthritis in both of his knees which is why he is leaning forward and choosing to lie down on me.  He has prescribed painkillers for the rest of Adam's life.  He reckoned that Adam may be aged around 30-40 years so no wonder he is suffering.  The x-ray also showed that Adam's liver was a little enlarged but nothing significant was picked up on the blood test results so I am very relieved about that.

Hopefully I will have Adam for a while longer now and he will feel a lot more comfortable when the painkillers kick in.

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