can a bird recover from ataxia

Ataxia can be seen in pet birds for a variety of different reasons. Generally speaking, it is considered a severe illness that requires immediate treatment.

Ataxia can arise from damage to the neurological or musculoskeletal system. It can start slowly and be progressive over time, and may be more difficult and subtle to detect in early phases. However, as soon as it is noticed, your vet should be the first point of contact, and they will almost certainly want to see your bird.

So what is ataxia in pet birds? How can you get to the bottom of what caused it? And what treatment options exist? Read on to learn more.

What is Ataxia?

Ataxia refers to an inability to coordinate movements—in particular, walking. Birds and other animals with ataxia will appear uncoordinated and may trip or fall. They might not be able to walk at all in certain situations. Ataxia is very subtle and initially difficult to detect in its early stages, when a person may simply miss one or two steps or take longer to actually place their feet and coordinate the walking movements.

Birds may have difficulties flying and using their wings in addition to not being able to walk. Wide leg stances, falling, using their beak to grasp onto objects to keep from falling, falling off their perch or not being able to perch, and clumsy movements with their legs or wings are some indicators that they are having trouble.

Ataxia is frequently a sign of a neurological or muscular disorder. Damage further up the brain can affect motor abilities more broadly, whereas damage to the nerves can affect individual limbs. Ataxia can also result from muscle weakness or damage that does not directly affect the nerves or nervous system.

Due to their muscles’ inability to react appropriately to brain signals, birds suffering from musculoskeletal damage may also exhibit an apparent lack of coordination. Nutrient deficiencies, such as those in calcium, vitamin E, selenium, or electrolyte imbalances, can cause this. Athetic birds are characterized by extreme weakness resulting from chronic diseases. Ataxia is invariably an indication of a dangerous illness that needs to be treated by a vet.

Disorders of the musculoskeletal or nervous systems can cause ataxia. Nervous system diseases frequently cause the brain to lose its ability to coordinate movement or to sense where the limbs, body, or head are in relation to one another. Damage to the brain, inner ear, or spinal cord may be the cause of this. The brain receives information from the spinal cord regarding the relative location of the head, legs, wings, and body. Since the spinal cord’s surface contains the fibers that carry this information, even minor damage to the cord will result in ataxia.

The incapacity to coordinate the voluntary movement of muscles is known as ataxia. Athetic birds have a clumsy, wobbly appearance and frequently stand with their legs widely apart to balance or to hook their beak on the cage’s side. If they are extremely ataxic, they will falter and tumble off the perch.

Balance and a normal body posture are maintained by the inner ear and the medulla and myelencephalon of the brain. Severe ataxia results from injury to the brain or middle ear (from trauma, infections, or pressure). These birds typically exhibit additional neurological symptoms like head tilting, circling, aberrant mental activity, or seizures.

The incapacity to coordinate the voluntary movement of muscles is known as ataxia. Athetic birds have a clumsy, wobbly appearance and frequently stand with their legs widely apart to balance or to hook their beak on the cage’s side. If they are extremely ataxic, they will falter and tumble off the perch. If nervous system disorders are the cause of ataxia, additional symptoms like trembling, head tilting, circling, stargazing, or seizures may also manifest.

Where are the Signs of Ataxia in Birds?Signs of ataxia can include:

  • General weakness
  • Lethargy or excessive sleepiness
  • Inability to walk or stand
  • Falling off their perch
  • Using their beak to gain balance
  • Standing with legs splayed
  • Breathing difficulties, such as excessive tail or chest movements or open-mouth breathing

FAQ

What does ataxia look like in birds?

Pheasants show varying degrees of ataxia and uncoordinated movement. In severe cases, birds can’t get up although often their heads will remain upright and the bird will be alert. Early signs are unbalanced birds with their wings spread out in an attempt to remain upright.

What causes a bird to lose balance?

Birds with musculoskeletal damage may also appear uncoordinated, as the muscles are unable to respond properly to signals from the brain. This may occur with deficiencies of nutrients such as calcium, vitamin E or selenium or electrolyte disorders. Birds that are extremely weak from chronic diseases also appear ataxic.

Why does my bird keep stumbling?

Nutritional Deficiencies: Deficiency of vitamins B or E, hypocalcaemia (low blood calcium levels) or hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) can all cause stumbling, head twisting, circling, paralysis, or spasms.

Can birds recover from illness?

Sure, its possible, it depends on what is bothering the bird. Unfortunately, there is a disease called pscittacosis that birds can appear to recover from but shed the organism on and off for the rest of their lives, infecting other birds and even people.