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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone, I’m Hallie. My parrotlet, Eliza is 6 1/2 years old, and she’s been healthy and happy (she has a long term feather chewing habit I was never able to break but no health issues otherwise). She’s fully flighted and spends many hours each day either on my shoulder or my husband’s (we don’t leave her out unsupervised), eats well, flies to us and back to her cage, etc.
About 6 weeks ago there was this bizarre shift in behavior. She took off across the house out of the blue and did one of those scrabbling landings where she tried to land on the wall where there wasn’t a foothold. Didn’t impact or anything but was acting dazed, but after watching her for awhile she seemed back to normal. I figured she’d reached to something I didn’t see (eg a Hawk flew by the window). She woke up fine the next day and seemed herself but then she started doing the same crazy flying from one side of her big cage to the other. The cycle continued over the next few days, where she’d be fine and then suddenly take flight across the house or around her cage (not always in the same room). She also started acting way clingier than usual (wanting to burrow into my sweatshirt collar, which she never wanted to do before) and laying down in my hands full belly instead of her usual perching. She seems droopy and only wants to forage for seeds instead of eating her food.
I took her to an avian vet, who thought she might be stressed out, prescribed nervous Nellie, and had me take her home and watch her. The behavior is only gotten worse, she mostly will stay at the bottom of her cage, is droopy most of the time including mid bite when she’s chewing on a seed or some thing, and she’s just not herself at all. She also seems to be having trouble sometimes coordinating her feet and steps, but then she flies to a perch in her cage just fine, almost like her perception is intermittently off or something?
When I took her back to the vet for a follow up, the vet basically said that there was nothing obviously wrong with her, and the next step would be tests. Like $400 worth of tests. Has anyone experienced anything like this? Before I drop that cash, which I really don’t have, I would be so grateful for any insight you might be able to share.
 

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You did the right thing by taking her to the vet due to the sudden change in behavior. A lot of what you described is concerning such as laying down in your hands instead of perching and spending significant time on the cage bottom. If you can afford it, I would have the vet run some tests to rule out any potential medical issue(s).
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the responses, everyone. Has anyone ever experienced anything like this with their own birds? The tests the vet has offered are a simple blood test, an x-ray, and a swab for some sort of specific syndrome that has to do with the immune system.
 

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Let me first stress to you that we are not experts on this forum, but from what you have told us, I am having trouble understanding why a vet would say that there is nothing going on after what you have told him. Birds hide their illness very well, but if you are seeing clear signs that your bird is not acting normal then that is something to be concerned about. If Eliza is lethargic, not eating normally, mostly lying on the bottom of the cage, and having the inability to move her feet at times, this sounds serious to me. Eliza needs to have the tests done as soon as possible; it is the only way to find out what is going on. This must be hard to see your little girl like this. I am so sorry, and I really hope the vet can do something for her. Let us know how she is doing.
 

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So hard to watch that kind of distress. My Zelena had similar issues and was diagnosed with Borna virus. It is a neurologic parrot illness that causes erratic behavior like flying into walls. I thought I was going to loose her! Very scary and hard to watch. After a week in the emergency room at the Avian hospital and meds for that disease and the inflammation it causes, I was able to bring her home. I was giving Zelena 2 meds by eye dropper for several months and I still keep a supply on hand. But thankfully she has not exhibited those symptoms for over a year now. Please don't wait to do the swab blood test and follow up. I wish you and your parrotlet well and pray it just disappears. Murdoch
 
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