I just got a female baby cockatiel on July 4th (11days ago). I had to wait two weeks from when I first fell in love with her, and just visit with her instead of taking her home, because she was still handfeeding.

Yesterday afternoon when I took a late lunch break, I took both her and my male cockatiel out of their cages to get a stretch and let them socialize for a little bit, as I always do. I heard a noise that I thought was my male imitating my dog's squeaky toy. This was not the case. It was my new baby, and it was her breathing, wheezing, and sneezing. I put her back in her cage, sat with her for a bit and began to worry. I had to go back to work, so I added some multivitamins to her water, turned the AC up a few degrees, covered her and prayed it was just dust, seed hulls, or feather dander causing this. It wasn't. I got home and her conditions had only worsened. Her tail moved up and down, like support, each breath she takes, and in between eating seeds, her beak is opened instead of closed while she breathes. I was a little confused because I'm used to recognizing these symptoms with nose or eye drainage, in birds with respiratory infections.

I called the avian vet in my area, and the receptionist connected me to the vet. He sounded a little unsure about my description ( I may have left detail out being shook up) and he offered to look at her through video chat. He was hoping with his busy agenda today AND the street a ride down and the stress it can cause a bird, maybe he could help recommend something to do at home or without bringing her in. He told me within seconds that she has pneumonia. Fluid in the lungs.... he thinks it probably started from being hand fed improperly and her symptoms are what's happened as it's progressed. He set me up an appointment for a few hours from now, and said he'd start a Doxycycline treatment on her. I worked at a vet who had treated a large parrot for Pneumonia with Sulfa/Trimethoprim. When I asked about that he said since she was a baby and hasn't been eating a seed diet long, that Sulfa antibiotics, although most effective, would tear up her stomach and possibly stress her body out more than necessary, and he'd have to treat with a weaker broad spectrum.

My question is, does anyone know the survival rate OR her chances at survival of pneumonia with treatment? I'm especially curious since she won't be on an antibiotic that I'm familiar with being used for this.... If there is anybody that has a success or unsuccessful story either using Doxycycline in smaller birds OR with pneumonia treatment in birds period.

When I asked him what her chances were, he said all I can tell you is she will perish with intense suffering if she isn't treated... so here I am, about to take her, with all of her favorite perches and toys, and treats (he's keeping her there during treatment- I can visit her while doing so) I'd like to stress to any readers that I don't want this to in any way discourage ANY bird owners from taking their bird to the vet, even if the answer is "I took mine to the vet and she still didn't make it". I also wish I could load a video, so future viewers can familiarize themselves with the noises my baby cockatiel is making and see how she's holding her body, for educational purposes, and that they know the importance of getting any pet bird with these symptoms to a vet ASAP.

  • Update: he only held her overnight, had her in an oxygen chamber to help her labored breathing. He gave her an antibiotic shot that'll last 5-7 days and said he thought she'd be warmer and more comfortable at home with familiar faces and handling. When I picked her up this morning he gave me a script for the doxy that I filled and I have to give her the oral suspension by mouth/beak once/12 hrs. No weezing or sneezing for about 2-3 hours after oral meds this am, started back up again. She never sleeps during the day, but she's been napping today, assuming oxy box was stressful last night
    – Christy B.
    Jul 16, 2017 at 0:51
  • Hey Christy, how did your baby bird fare through this? Hoping all is well
    – cr0
    Oct 4, 2017 at 22:25
  • 1
    So, after waiting for x-rays (to rule out something stuck in her windpipe), and blood work results, she ended up having Phneumonia and Psittacosis, and the Doxy shot and oral Doxy twice a day, as well as the oxygen treatments, she is not a totally different bird. She's all better. It was very expensive but worth it. We bonded over the experience and I named her Weezy. She's very special. Greatful I had my birds in separate cages bc Psittacosis is VERY contagious, and most likely was passed to her at the pet store I got her from. The health Dept also had to get involved... But she's AWESOME
    – Christy B.
    Oct 4, 2017 at 23:09
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    She fought the oral antibiotics at first, and then she had a turn and started accepting it without fuss. Either bc she was exhausted from being sick- or because she knew Momma bird- me- was helping her out, but I'd like to think that sge knew. That whole time she was being medicated has shaped our relationship and bond.
    – Christy B.
    Oct 4, 2017 at 23:12


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