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Q&A: What Can You Do for a Wobbly Pigeon?

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Dr. Mark is a veterinarian. He works with dogs, cats, exotics, and livestock.

In pigeons, wobbly walking, head tilting, and head circling are often symptoms of a neurological issue.

In pigeons, wobbly walking, head tilting, and head circling are often symptoms of a neurological issue.

How Can I Help a Pigeon Who's Lost His Balance?

"I found a pigeon who has lost his balance. He can fly and is eating and drinking, but he can't stand up straight. I tried letting him go yesterday but he hit the roof so I went picked him up and put him back in a cage. What do I do now?" —Kai

Neurological Issues May Be at Play

There are several possibilities why the pigeon has lost balance, like protozoal encephalitis (1), but no one can give you a definitive answer without a neurological exam. Other neurological symptoms include head tilting and circling.

So what can you do for this pigeon? If possible, take him to an avian vet for an exam and he or she will give you a better idea of what else you can do. Since this is a bird you found, however, you may not be interested in taking him to an avian veterinarian. If this is the case, please call animal control in your area so that they can come to you.

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Lastly, here are some general guidelines on taking care of a pigeon that may be sick or injured.

Source

Ushio, N., Watanabe, K., Chambers, J. K., Shibato, T., Nakayama, H., & Uchida, K. (2015). Sarcocystis calchasi encephalitis in a rock pigeon. The Journal of veterinary medical science, 77(11), 1523–1526. https://doi.org/10.1292/jvms.15-0176


This article is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from your veterinarian. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2022 Dr Mark

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