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Cockatiel sinus infections

Expert Question

One of my cockatiels was getting a lot of sinus infections which didn`t clear up properly after repeated medication. My vet advised I could put the medicine on his food, as it was difficult to administer as he kept spitting it out. Unfortunately the prescribed medicine didn`t take the sinus infection away so my vet advised a nasal flush. After the flush the vet showed me a small `bone like` mass which had come out with the flush. He didn`t seem to know what it was and let me take my cockatiel home. After I got him home I noticed he couldn`t stand properly and wasn`t interested in his food. Next day he was the same so I phoned the vet and he advised I should feed him baby food with a syringe. He still wasn`t improving, so when I told the vet he advised leaving him at the surgery. I had only left him for a day when the vet phoned to say he had died. I feel so upset by all the stress he must have suffered and not knowing what the `bone like` mass was. I wonder if you would have any idea what this could have been? I would be glad of your opinion.

Expert Answer

Sorry for your loss. The best person to answer your question about what came out of that sinus flush would be the person who actually saw it - your veterinarian. This could have been a dried concretion of keratinaceous material. a foreign body or theoretically an infected piece of bone that was dislodged in the flushing process. Was there a post mortem examination performed to determine the factual cause of death? In general, recurring “sinus infections” happen for a reason, and are a call to establish an accurate diagnosis if at all possible.

Brian Speer, DVM
About Brian Speer, DVM

Avian veterinarian Dr. Brian Speer was raised in a small town on California’s coast. He received his BS in Biology from California Polytechnic State University in 1978, and his DVM degree from the University of California at Davis in 1983.

An active member of the Association of Avian Veterinarians (AAV), Dr. Speer is a much sought after guest speaker and has presented at numerous conferences in the avicultural and zoological communities both within the United States and abroad. He is well published in the AAV annual proceedings, has served as guest editor for the journal Seminars in Avian and Exotic Pet Medicine, the Veterinary Clinics of North America, and authored chapters in several recent veterinary medical texts on pet bird, avicultural and ratite medical topics. In 1995 he co-authored the extensive avicultural reference, The Large Macaws, and helped to co-author Birds for Dummies in 1999.

Since 1989, Dr, Speer has run a “bird’s only” practice in the San Francisco Bay area and is the President and Director of The Medical Center for Birds. He is a consultant for The Veterinary Information Network (Avian Medical Boards) and the Maui Animal Rescue and Sanctuary. In 2003 he was the recipient of the Lafeber award for excellence in private practice of avian medicine and surgery and in 2006, was named Speaker of the Year for the North American Veterinary Conference.