So for as long as I can remember, my 9.5 year old budgie has one BACK toe on his LEFT foot that sticks straight out (the longer of the two toes). He is unable to grip with it or move it at all, and is unable to feel it. Other than this it looks completely normal. Blood supply is unaffected entirely. He carries on like everything is normal, and he even preens it the same way as his other toes. I can assume he experiences no pain from the toe. Since it's been like this for so long I never paid it any mind. I thought perhaps he injured it when he was younger and I didn't notice and the nerves just died or something. We've been to the vet tons of times over his life for other things, but the toe just never came up in a diagnostic sense physical after physical.
Now my concern...
A few months ago I noticed the other back toe on that same foot is the same way. I cannot, with complete certainty, say that both toes were not like this all along, but I am about 95% sure. I can only say that I noticed the other shorter back toe not bending a few months ago.
He is overweight as confirmed by a vet, and we are working on that as his diet is mostly seeds (of course he picks out the millet seeds in the mix to eat almost exclusively, we do not give him millet sprays) but he does get broccoli, egg whites, spinach, sweet potato, beets, and many other nutritious things pretty often. Right now we're concentrating on cutting down how much he eats in general. We're working on converting him over to mostly fresh foods like that since he refuses pellets and I don't have the money to keep replacing expired pellets (although I will give it another go soon). His wings are not clipped and he flies around the house/room several times a day, and he is a very good flier (very quick, changes directions on a dime). He gets PLENTY of out of cage time with my partner and I every single day.
I've tried poking at his ankle (more like the knee joint probably) on that same foot and he SEEMS to feel it, but it could also be that he noticed me touching him and just reacted. Two front feet on that same foot work. I'm freaking out that this might spread, because even if it goes to ONE other toe on that foot, his quality of life will be affected greatly. Even if he just had use of one foot I would care for him diligently and make sure he gets to fly, but I don't want this for him. I know he would be depressed because he's so happy and active now. About 1 year ago he fell ill and had an x-ray where he had fluid in his airsacs and he pulled through with some diuretics, but this means that we can rule out an internal mass as problem of the 1st toe since he's had it his whole life. Does anyone know what could be going on???? I am open to literally any suggestions. I love him more than myself. I don't want any "go see a vet" answer because I probably will anyway, but they generally say the same thing: *shrug* "it doesn't seem to be bothering him so lets leave it alone."
I'm sorry your budgie is having this difficulty. Were the vets in the past, Avian vets or just "all pet" vets? I'm also wondering why you didn't point out this issue at a previous vet visit, since you said it has been going on for some time.
Of course since we're not vets here, we can only speculate what might be wrong. You mentioned he is obese. Perhaps there is fat somewhere inside which is pressing on nerves, causing lack of sensation and function. Just a wild guess based on what you've said.
I know you don't want to see any advice saying "go see a vet", but the reason that is always said is because truthfully, a vet (and preferably an avian vet) seeing the bird in person is going to give you the best advice. Much better than any member can ever give on an online forum.
If the avian vet that you see next just tells you to leave it be, tell them your concerns and worries about it. The vet will determine if "doing anything" about it would be worth the risk, or if they feel it will be fine to leave it be.
If you haven't already, I would re-do his cage to make it more handicap friendly. Platforms instead of only perches, placing things lower, maybe a soft towel or something on part of the bottom, etc.
A budgie living to 9 1/2 years old is a long life for budgies these days. Hopefully he will have much longer with you, but he is a senior, in case you didn't know .
Thank you so much for your response. I should have consolidated the points where I said that it has been brought up to exotic vets, but they never paid any mind to it since it wasn't causing him any serious problems and the reason for the visits were often another issue (although he has had about 4 general checkups throughout his life during which I brought up the issue--not always with an avian specific vet, but always with an exotic veterinarian). I see now how I phrased it doesn't make that clear. But either way, they gave me the same response each time about it not causing him problems. I can see why they felt this way because why put him under anesthesia to do xrays if they think it's not a big issue.. and I understand that budgies are difficult to examine and treat, but I would expect them to have a better answer because budgies suffer from the same maladies as larger parrots, and I'm sure this issue has come up for larger birds. I even tried looking online instead of "parakeet" or "budgie" typing "parrot" or "bird" or even "macaw" or "cockatoo" just to see if I could find anything. He doesn't seem to have a limp whatsoever when he runs. Anytime the toes affect him he seems confused. Thanks for the advice about making the cage safer. I certainly have more padding in it, and since he insists on sleeping on a swing where the circumference of the grip is much smaller, I place a hang-on metal grating (platform like you said) about an inch beneath the swing in case he falls.
I know that he's getting up there, but I would like to see him have as long a life as possible, he just loves living so much! Every day he seems stoked on being alive. Your words are kind, thank you. Any other ideas are welcome.
It's so strange to me that it's only TWO toes, that it happened in a staggered way, and that they are just completely nonfunctional, nonsensory and fully healthy otherwise. It just doesn't seem like a sciatic nerve issue but I hope that it is and I hope it's related to his weight though I doubt it :\
Last edited by mayorparsnip; 07-25-2017 at 05:03 PM.
What is your budgie's name?
I'm sorry he's having neurological problems.
Does the fact that both back toes are now affected make it difficult for him to perch normally?
If so, you can provide platform perches so he doesn't have to grip.
I'm glad he's getting exercise and you are giving him nutritious foods. With regard to a high quality seed mix, a budgie needs only 1 1/2 - 2 teaspoons of seed per day. If you haven't yet cut back to that amount, I would suggest you do so.
I give my birds 1/2 their seed ration each morning and 1/2 each evening.
Please take the time to read through the Site Guidelines, all of the How To Guides, the FAQs, the Budgie Articles and the stickies located at the top of each section of the forum.
Truly, the very BEST advice anyone can offer you is to take the time to read ALL of the stickies throughout the various Talk Budgie forums as well as the Budgie Articles we have posted.
These are great resources for Talk Budgie members and have a wealth of reliable information which will assist you to learn the best practices in caring for your budgies for their optimal health and well-being.
Thank you for your response! His name is Algernon. It does affect his ability to perch slightly as you might imagine. On that particular foot he cannot grip with his back toes so it slides slightly forward depending on the circumference of the perch. Here is a short video of him. It doesn't really illustrate his issue but it's a cute introduction video. I'll try to find a video of him being more active. https://youtu.be/7xj2IkV-Otc
I'm glad that Algernon is coping well despite his disability. You've been given great advice on how to make his cage more comfortable for him since an avian vet has not been able to determine the cause of the problem.
We hope to meet him when you get a chance!
It is really great to have you here and you couldn't have come to a better place to learn even more about budgies!
Be sure to read through the forum's many Budgie Articles and "stickies" (threads "stuck" to the top of each subform for easy reference) to ensure you're up to date on all the best practices for budgie care!
If you have any questions after reading through everything, be sure to ask as we'd love to help
We look forward to seeing you and Algernon around the forums!
and Princess Mallorn!
Thank you to Deb for her wonderful Faery magic