Animal Doctor

Animal Doctor

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Dear Dr. Fox:

I have a white cockatiel that is almost 3 years old, and she is pulling out all her feathers.

The vet has put her on Clomipramine (10 mg. twice daily), but it doesn't help.



DF: Your bird is doing what many of these captive souls do -- go crazy and self-mutilate. Many such misfits finish up in caged-bird rescue centers and sanctuaries. Very often they make good recoveries and become adoptable birds with restored plumage. I advise people to first consider adopting a caged bird, and ideally a compatible duo, and not purchase from pet stores or online breeders, who are only adding to the problem, especially parrots.

If your bird is confined 24/7 to a cage or perch, has little social stimulation, lives in a noisy, tumultuous environment, is not fed an organically certified, top-quality diet appropriate for her species and is free of feather mites -- take it from there. Good food, good company, plenty of freedom and a little Valerian (1 to 2.5 mg. daily to take the edge off) might help your bird begin to enjoy life and not self-mutilate.

Keep cat indoors

Dear Dr. Fox:

I have a 2-year-old cat. She is a house cat; I never let her outside.

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