Sick Bird: What should you do and how to prevent it.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


Cockatiel health















When you keep bird, either pet bird avairy bird or cage bird, sooner or later I believed that you will encounter this situation. I also encounter this situation before and I understand how is the feeling if your bird is sick. I would like to share with you a real incident which happen to me and this may happen to you too. Later I will share with you some recommendation and altenatif for you if you have sick bird.

This incident happen to my eclectus parrot. One day I found that a male eclectus parrot have some problem with his eyes. It seem very ‘wet’ around the eyes. I take him out from the cage and put him seperately from his partner. Since I still stay at Petaling Jaya and the bird initially is located in Rawang, I keep the bird in small cage and bring him back with me to Petaling Jaya.

Later I try to call my friend who is a Vet ( I believed that she is one of the best Vet – for bird in this country) but unable to get in touch with her. A night went by. In the next day, I take half day (leave) off my work, intent to bring my bird to Vet clinic. Unfortunately I still unable to contact the friend. It is a difficult situation in this place, (Kuala Lumpur or Petaling Jaya – and I believed many place in this country) because not many Vet that able to handle bird. Most of the vet only handle dog and cat and some of them don’t even have any experience in handling bird!

In the afternoon, luckily I able to contact her. She advice me to bring the bird to her clinic as soon as possible. However, due to office work, I am not able to take any leave untill the week after. I think many people will sit in this shoes also. Weekdays is work. Only late afternoon is for your own time. Since the clinic will open on weekdays, I have no choice but to ask for further advice from her. She provide me with some information about the medicine that I should use for this case and ask me to get the medicine for my bird. Note: I am somehow an experience bird handler, I keep birds since 1983 and breed parrot since 2000. I know how to handfeed or handle the bird and have many necessary tools – sringes, extra cage (for sick bird) handfeeding tools etc. If you new to birds or not very sure, please do not attempt to care for the bird by yourself.

The story go on, after I get the information about which medicine for my birds, after work I rush back home. In Petaling Jaya (Taman Megah area) there are one Vet clinic (name withheld). I visit the clinic to buy some medicine. Unfortunately it is not as plan. The worker at the counter give me some funny looking when I ask them if they (the Vet) can handle bird. She just ask back about what species of bird and whether I bring the bird with me. I reply that it is a parrot but I din’t bring it with me (I don’t think it is wise to bring sick bird around without knowing if the clinic can handle it- it will make the bird become weaker). At this time, I know that my sick bird become weaker and weaker.

Then I ask him if they have the medicine that I need. The unfortunate goes on, the worker didn’t even smile or care me didn’t reply. When I repeat she give different look at me and said that they didn’t sell it. She said that I need to see the vet before she can give me the medicine and the vet that can see me only come next week – about seven day from that days! To make matter worst, I inform her that I may not able to wait until a week because my bird is sick. I inform her that I had the prescription and at least I should have some medicine for my bird in while I am waiting to bring to Vet (I intent to bring to my friend later). She decline and replied that if I have meet a vet, I should get the medicine from that vet and not from them. I feel very sad, in one side my bird is sick and in other side someone that suppose to help me is making fun out of me! ( I know that I am not kind of “Tall, dark and Capricorn” person, but come on. Please don’t treat me as a drug addicted person) I only can walk out from the clinic… and you know what… after I just pass the door, she come to the door and lock the door…

Note: I am not very sure about the law about selling medicine. However, I think I will feel much better if they do take some efford to tell me about it (if the restriction exist), or if they can’t sell medicine to stranger without proper prescription from the Doctor.

Life goes on, I went around looking for some other clinic but no luck. I went to few pharmacy and lastly able to buy some medicine from a pharmacy. (sometimes life full of problem, but keep trying- you will find a way!)

Come back to my house, I call my friend who is the vet and inform her that I got the medicine. Not exactly all, but at least I got some medicine. She advice me about the dosage that I should use for my sick bird. I follow the instruction carefully and I have to give the medicine for my sick bird twice a day. Early morning and in the evening. (actually, the best is 3 times a day as per advice, but since I have to go to office, she said that it also will be okay for two times a day.) So I have to wake up very early in the morning to prepare the medicine, clean the eyes and give medicine for my sick bird and rush back every evening for the same purpose. 

What is the lesson for this?
Well, you have read my experience and the story. Here is some lesson that I want to share with you. I think it is necessary for you if you want to avoid this kind of experience. 

First, buy from reputable breeder or seller. In an emergency, you can call him or her and ask for her advice. I don’t think many pet shop will able to give you the advice even if you can buy cheaper bird from them. It is a peace of mind for you and it is good for your bird. 

Second, before you buy the bird or any pet, you should check out for more information about the species that you want to keep. Keep and open eye for any possible problem that may happen. Learn about the disease that might get your bird and what is the prevention step. It is always better to prevent than try to cure.

Join the bird club or bird forum in your area. From there, be friend with more experience bird keeper. They may have more knowledge regarding the bird and some information about who should you contact in case your bird is sick. Sometimes they also willing to share some of their experience about how to make sure their bird stay healthy. In case you don’t know about any good bird club or forum, you can join the Malaysia Bird Forum. I am the admin of this forum and there are some experience bird keeper that give their opinion in the forum. 

Make sure you know the vet that able to advice you about bird before your bird sick. You can see that in my case, it is very lucky that I have this very kind friend. If I don’t, the bad will become worst. In many place, Vet clinic will only treat cat and dog (the most common pet). I don’t think you should bet your bird life with someone which not even know how to hold a bird. (Yes, there are technique to handle bird so it will not harm the bird and in the case of big parrot, handling it with proper method will make sure that both bird and the person that hold it is not in a danger position.)

Okay, last but not least. Good luck and take care.

P/s: please do not let your bird sick.

Cockatiel Books and Video Tapes from Avian Publications

The Complete Pet Bird Owner's Handbook (Revised Edition) by Dr. Gary A. Gallerstein

Avian Medicine: Principles and Application (Abridged Edition) by Dr. Branson Ritchie, Dr. Greg Harrison, Linda Harrison & Dr. Donald W. Zantop




2 December 2005

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