Answers To Cockatiel Problems Including Swollen Tongues And Bumblefoot

Answers To Cockatiel Problems Including Swollen Tongues And Bumblefoot

Last Updated on by Mitch Rezman

12/24/2018 – My cockatiel has a swelling on the side of his tongue and the vet is off for the holidays. help!!


12/24/2018  – Dear Patricia

We are very sorry to hear your bird may be ill.


Of course, timing is often not right and our pets health issues may come at the wrong times.


This is beyond our experience and knowledge.


Yes, a trip to your Vet is the way to go.

Your bird may simply have bit its tongue like we sometimes do and it should be fine in a few days.


Supply clean water and easy foods to eat served up so your bird can dine without digging.


Place plain paper towels at the cage bottom to watch for droppings and food debris.

If your bird is not eating or drinking you will have to administer water drops via the beak.


If not eating for a couple of days you may have to hand feed as well.


Crushing and mashing bird pellets in warm water will work.


  • Keep its birdcage clean and uncluttered.
  • Remove any toys with sharp edges or that are overly soiled.
  • Look for anything like open chain links, wires or loose threads that could be dangerous and remove them.


Draping a towel or a light throw over the back, top and sides of the cage would be helpful to keep the cage from being drafty.


Call your vet and leave a message for the next available opening when they return so you can bring your bird in for a visit.


Please let us know how this turns out.



12/28/2018 – Patricia replied

Thanks so much for emailing me back.


We took him to his avian vet. He has white patches on his tongue and on his cheeks inside the mouth.


They tested, and it is not avian thrush.


He is on antibiotics in his water for two weeks and vitamins with vitamin A for two weeks.


We continue this until the end of Feb.


It is something my vet has never experienced.


My sweet birdie is eating fine and flying fine and drinking water so I pray it is not life threatening!!


I will let you know how things work out!

Sincerely, Patricia R. – Nashville, Tn.


12/28/2018 you replied – To Patricia R

Thank you for letting us know what has been happening with your bird.


I did a bit of research and if not thrush then it may indeed be a Vitamin A deficiency.


Pet parrots are commonly deficient in Vitamin A so it is good you caught it.


Here is an article on Vitamin A deficiency in birds.


We would love to know how this all turns out.




First Name: Wendy

I’m kind of upset after seeing a cockatiel with Bumblefoot in a local bird store yesterday.


He obviously wasn’t well and he was shifting from one foot to the other and his little feet had swollen red areas.


The owner said he needs someone who will care for him but I was surprised he’s allowed to sell a sickly bird that may need expensive care.


What do you think about all this?


I feel I need to rescue that little thing.

Catherine Tobsing replied

Dear Wendy

It is very upsetting to see a pet that is not yours in pain or obviously sick.

Bumblefoot occurs when the bird is not provided with a variety of perches in different sizes and textures then it rubs on one place all the time causing the calluses or blisters to form.


It can also happen due to a small cut on the bottom of the foot that becomes dirty from stepping in feces on perches or birdcage floor.


We had it happen to our cockatiel even though she had a lot of different perches.


She was also able to come in and out of her cage.


One foot had it, we did have to take her to the vet for antibiotics and ointment. It is not that uncommon but needs to be treated.


If not treated the bird may become septic and die.

The bird needs antibiotics and an antibiotic ointment on their feet and placed in a short cage without perches with clean paper towels at the bottom.


Preferably a tub or aquarium that forces the bird to not be able to climb at all for a week or so until the feet heal.

You can approach the store owner and tell the owner how to care for the bird or offer to purchase the bird at a very reduced price.


Or even offer to take the bird off the owner’s hands at no cost as it may pass from its injuries over time.


No one will purchase a bird in that condition at full price.

If you are local, you could offer to care for the bird in the store for a store credit on merchandise.


These are all options that could go favorably for everyone.

If you are a regular customer of that pet shop it would be more likely that they will work in your favor.

Or you can call the local authorities, press, bird club, anyone that could get involved and make it very uncomfortable for the owner to continue in the way he is handling it.


Do you have a phone you can take a short video on of the bird in pain? That would help.

Pet stores usually have an arrangement with a local vet to treat their pets at a reduced rate.


Find out what vet they use and approach the vet about the issue, they may contact the pet store in favor of the bird.

Unfortunately, most pet stores will end up just removing the bird from public view and put in in the back assuming it will either heal or pass, but no one will know. Out of sight out of mind.

This is a sad situation for sure.


You sound like a very caring person and I hope you can convince the pet shop owner it would be in their best interests to correct this sooner than later.

Please let us know the outcome of this.

written by catherine tobsing
approved by mitch rezman

Mitch Rezman

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