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Old 06-16-2020, 03:07 PM
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Scarlet Macaw suddenly weak and disoriented

I am hoping to find some advice in regards to Elizabeth my Scarlet Macaw that is approximately 60 years old. I have owned her since she and I were both around 20 years old. She is overall very healthy, has all her feathers and lives on a open perch in my family room, never in a cage.

Her diet consists of seeds mixed with nuts along with a variety of human food depending on what we are eating for breakfast/lunch/dinner throughout the day.

Approximatly 2 summers ago she began experiencing symptoms that I can best describe as confused, disoriented and weak. She would maneuver around her perch slowly and has fallen off at times however most of the time was spent sitting in one spot, sometimes tilting her head in odd ways, she would take food and water when offered and would also go and eat/drink herself although it did seem less regular. I brought her to a registered Avian vet here in Canada, got blood work and an X-ray done both of which came back fine minus some minor vitamin deficiencies that could be corrected, nothing jumped out though, she eventually after a couple days returned to her normal self.

Since then till now she gets into spurts where she starts to exhibit those same symptoms. The change in her behavior is so night and day that it points to something clearly being wrong however I am not sure how to help her. She has probably had anywhere from 15-20 of these episodes all lasting anywhere from 1 to 3 days over the past 2 years. I can take her to another vet and that is always what my initial instinct is however after now 2 vet visits with no answers I am stuck wondering if that is truly the best for her. She is put under stress, I have a bill for a couple hundred and am in no better spot.

Any advice is appreciated.
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Old 06-16-2020, 04:55 PM
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Re: Scarlet Macaw suddenly weak and disoriented

Wow, 60 years is a respectful age for any macaw! You've done a wonderful job keeping her for 40 years, happy and healthy.

Sadly I'm not a vet so can't give you advice there. I wonder if it is age related problems?

Have they tested her for heavy metal? I believe it can show symptoms you describe.
This is just a wild guess though, and if you do see a vet again, make sure they understand exactly what you want, have them explain in detail what and why they are doing things. Some miss tests that you may want.

I hope you find some answers, or someone here can steer you in the right direction.
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Old 06-16-2020, 06:44 PM
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Re: Scarlet Macaw suddenly weak and disoriented

I agree....nice to see an old bird having aged along with the owner.

I'm not a vet either, and only have 1 1/2 years experience with birds, sorry. Has anything in the routine or anything in the house changed? New pets? New toy? New people? You said it's happened before several times and it went away on its own. Maybe she's just having another bad spell? Or really just old age

Looks like you definitely need to up her fresh fruits and veggies. Do you also feed pellets? Mine gets pellets available all day, then fresh fruits and veggies in the morning and night, and a variety of nuts in the day.
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Old 06-16-2020, 07:07 PM
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Re: Scarlet Macaw suddenly weak and disoriented

My best advice is to seek a real Certified Avian Vet, who holds bonifide accreditations. This could be something only a true CAV would pick up on, or be familiar with.
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Old 06-17-2020, 09:03 AM
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Re: Scarlet Macaw suddenly weak and disoriented

Sounds like you have rarely taken your Mac to an Avian Profession over all these many years. Such visits for a long lived parrot would represent a wealth of information at this point of your Mac's life.

As you stated, the minor vitamin deficiencies is not a world stopper. But, depending on where they had been in the past, could tell a very different story. And also, whether the provided diet should have been changed or improved to avoid such an occurrence. The provided diet is good, but improvements should be considered. Human food, forty years ago was very different than today and what volume of the diet is human food does make a different.

As stated above, Heavy Metal could also be defined by this kind of response.

At both of your ages, you both should be seeing your doctors on a yearly bases regardless of either of both of your past good luck with being healthy.

A trail over months of being confused, disoriented and weak, if used to define you would have you at your doctors office, right... Why would you not provide the same to your life companion?

So yes, it back to see your Avian Professional.
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Old 06-17-2020, 11:59 AM
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Re: Scarlet Macaw suddenly weak and disoriented

Welcome to you and Elizabeth, congratulations for keeping a lifelong companion!

Agree with all of the above, she needs a highly competent certified avian vet to help distinguish between health and age related illnesses. At her age, the two may be intertwined, all the more reason for the very best counsel possible.

Two search engines for potential avian vets:
https://www.aav.org/search/custom.asp?id=1803
https://lafeber.com/pet-birds/find-an-avian-vet/

Good luck, please keep us updated with Elizabeth's progress.
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Old 06-17-2020, 10:09 PM
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Re: Scarlet Macaw suddenly weak and disoriented

To give an example of how much body chemistry affects living things, a colleage of mine was in intensive care over the weekend. H e was disoriented and actually blacked out, and woke up in the hospital. The reason? His sodium level was low. How low? Normal is 135, his was 117. Just 18 points low, and that was the result. Not sayiing your macaw has a sodium imbalance, but it pays to have a very through blood work up, especially in older birds. FYI my colleague is 62 ( and is recovering).
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