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Respiratory disease

Expert Question

My question; I noticed my 22 year old cockatiel’s wings are moving up and down when he breathes. There is no wheezing sound or his beak is not open, so I took him for a check-up. The Vet could hear like a gurgling/rasping sound when he put the stethoscope on him and thought it was coming from under his body, but doesn’t know what it is. I wondered if you had heard of anything like this or have any idea what it could be? He is still eating well and doesn’t seem to be ill. Thank you.

Expert Answer

My general impression is that your bird may be showing some clinical signs of cardiovascular or respiratory disease. Normally, there should be no abnormal sounds noted when a bird is ausculted. I would suggest that you consider asking your examining veterinarian to consider pursuit of a more clear diagnosis for your bird, if possible. These steps may include but not be limited to obtaining blood for a complete blood count, biochemistry profile and screening X rays.

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.