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General Health Care Remember to use common sense and consult with an avian veterinarian.

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Old 02-07-2018, 10:40 PM
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Scissor Beak

Hello!

I just brought in a neglect case whom I have named Bitty, she's a lutino cockatiel and kind of scruffy. Two missing toes, of her remaining toes two are missing the top joint, she has bumblefoot atm, covered in dry blood, aaaaand... a pretty serious case of scissor beak.

Just got her in her cage yesterday, and of course it's a huge shift from a filthy cage to one that is clean and well maintained, so it's possible she's just anxious, but I haven't seen any evidence of her eating. I think she had one single bite of banana when I ate it in front of her and offered a piece but I'm not quite sure. I also offered smoothie with all kinds of goodies inside, rice & eggs, seed mix, legume mix, and pellets. No evidence of her touching anything.

This is the first time I've brought in a case like this. My other birds for the most part were well socialized and well cared for (relatively) when I got them... so I'm not sure if there's other things I could try.

I spoke with the vet and already took a lot of cage accessories out of her cage to match it a bit with the bare cage she came from, but more than anything I want to make sure she eats!

The vet has already seen her and didn't think the scissor beak needed immediate attention, but I suppose it could be interrupting her eating too... Click through for the images here: [1] [2]

So: has anyone cared for a scissor beak case before? What does recovery look like, and is there any way I can speed it up? Even if there's no fix I assume I can help her correct it at least a little, it's quite serious. Also, any bumblefoot suggestions? I'm using natural wood perches, I also have a rope perch but it's out of the cage atm so the cage will more closely reflect what the previous one looked like. I'll reintroduce it sometime next week.

Thanks!

Last edited by hiriki; 02-07-2018 at 10:52 PM.
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Old 02-07-2018, 11:03 PM
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Re: Scissor Beak

I have no experience with scissor beak, I just wanted to thank you for taking in a case like that. It's relieving to see Bitty going to a caring home. I wouldn't worry over cage size, and with her foot problems a smaller cage with less fall distance may be a good thing.
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Old 02-07-2018, 11:09 PM
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Re: Scissor Beak

It's been a whirlwind couple of days preparing my home for her, then going to the store to get her after I got the tip that she was being neglected, haggling the store owner down so I didn't feel like I was rewarding this kind of treatment... immediate vet care, etc etc. I'm just starting to wind down from the adrenaline but I can tell she's still pretty high anxiety. I can't blame her!

It was terrible though. When I picked her up, there were so many birds that really needed care. But I'm very limited in what I can do. I've called some phone numbers but haven't found a single hit in terms of someone who's able and willing to hold a small business accountable for this kind of behavior... it's frustrating.

Thank you for the vote of confidence though, I intend to do right by Bitty <3
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Old 02-07-2018, 11:25 PM
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Re: Scissor Beak

She's probably just stressed, so just keep an eye on her like you are. You might try covering two thirds of the cage for a little bit to help her feel safe. Offer some millet for now just to try and get her eating.

As for her beak, I don't think it looks terrible, and it might correct itself as she has toys to play with and can wear it down herself, and getting better nutrition. As long as it's not affecting her ability to eat, she's fine for a few weeks until she settles in and isn't so stressed out, because the vet treating it would just be an extra level of stress on her right now.

To treat, they usually trim and file it to make sure it aligns properly and she can eat comfortably. There's no real recovery time outside of stress related.

I don't know if she got bloodwork or a fecal done, but I'm betting she has some nutritional deficiencies that could be exacerbating the problem, and those could take a while to correct and show in her beak, but don't worry.

For the bumblefoot, my Sydney came to me with horribly infected feet, so I understand. What I did might not entirely apply because he was a lump of a bird and not active at all, I could do almost anything to him. Initially I soaked his feet in warm water and reptile soak, which is aloe, glycerin and salt usually. This helped me lightly remove any dead skin on his feet and clean off and poop and other debris that was stuck without pulling or hurting him. I dried them well and he mostly slept with me (on top of a pet carrier with a towel about a foot off the ground) because he couldn't perch at all. I tried to give him as many flat, soft surfaces as I could until his feet healed, and continued soaking and cleaning his feet every day for a week, and then every other day until he was keeping them clean on his own.

You can try misting, but I would try to at least clean them once, and possibly provide a dish of water so she can bathe herself. It's possible she might need an antibiotic, but you would need to ask your vet. Keep everything in the cage clean, and consider putting something soft down that she can sit on if her feet hurt. Sometimes if you look in the small animal sections of pet stores, they carry flat perch type products. Most of the time, as long as they're getting a variety of perching surfaces, shapes and sizes, bumblefoot resolves easily because there's no longer constant pressure on those same areas of the foot. There may be some scarring depending on how long it's been going on for, so as you tame her, try to work with her feet as much as you can.
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Old 02-07-2018, 11:35 PM
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Re: Scissor Beak

Thank you for the scissor beak info!! That's very good to hear. I hope I can get her eating the smoothie my other birds are on--it has Harrison's in it, along with a bunch of dark leafy greens, and it's done wonders for my other birds. There's always a period of "what the hell is this," first, though...

I did as many tests as the vet felt comfortable, which was ultimately the fecal and then a test that involved getting a sample off of her eyelid for some kind of viral infection which is contagious. She described it as "bird chlamydia." She didn't want to do blood work because for how terrible, dirty and bloody this bird looked, she had a TON of energy, so she was nonstop struggling and very stressed. I was happy to see her kicking around but definitely she was distraught. I do plan on bloodwork eventually before introducing her to my existing flock.

Luckily her bumblefoot isn't too bad either, and my conure has messed up feet and is unable to perch, so I do have some flat perches and flat perch vendors I know of off the top of my head. She only has one open blister that I could see, and it's probably in part due to her not being able to perch well without all of her toes in working order.

As for the bath that's totally something I intend to do. Actually, with that suggestion I'll probably swap her small water dish with my doves' water dish temporarily, as theirs is much bigger. That way she can splash. She doesn't really seem to... want to splash, but I'd appreciate it if she would, haha. I don't have a mister at the moment as my dedicated water mister has been filled with bird safe antibiotic as of about a week ago (d'oh) but that's a quick walgreens trip to fix.
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Old 02-08-2018, 02:07 AM
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Re: Scissor Beak

Scissor beak doesn’t have a tendency to fix itself. Sometimes corrective trimming can work but you might end up getting regular trims for the rest of its life. Some surgeries are available but if it can eat it’s a waste of time and money and stress on the animal.

I do grooming on the messed up beaks at the shelter and it’s really nothing too hard. The annoying part is getting the bottom beak when the alignment is really out of wack.

I can’t tell too well on your guy but it looks like someone messed up handfeeding. When they are young their beaks are malleable and too much pressure from the syringe can deform the shape of the beak. I’d guess consistent beak trimmings the rest of the birds life is in your future even though it doesn’t look that bad.
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Old 02-08-2018, 09:52 AM
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Re: Scissor Beak

My vet guessed the exact same thing. I'll ask her to show me how to do the grooming, the least stressful option of course would be best.
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Old 02-08-2018, 10:58 AM
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Re: Scissor Beak

Quote: Originally Posted by hiriki View Post
My vet guessed the exact same thing. I'll ask her to show me how to do the grooming, the least stressful option of course would be best.
It's really not too hard with practice, disposable nail files work well for shaping. Once she gets used to it, you can do a little bit weekly as needed. My vet uses those and glass files, as well as a silicone spatula for them to bite on. Thankfully she's little, when I have to do Sydney's beak, I have to dremel it! I do his beak and nails all at once.
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Old 02-08-2018, 11:04 AM
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Re: Scissor Beak

I'm so glad you rescued her! You're on my hero list.

I'd stick tight with the vet (good for you for having one). I see you're already getting great advice.

Thanks for loving this bird in need, and for sharing the story with us.
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Old 02-08-2018, 03:26 PM
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Re: Scissor Beak

I'm having trouble picturing her letting me file her beak with a nail file but here's hoping!

Thanks for all the support and encouraging words. As of now, still no eating, but I'm frying up some more eggs to entice her, and she's certainly vocal today. Good sign!
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